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Full text of "Brown as a berry. A novel"

^A^^^yi^yJ '-^4CMyn^r 




L I E) RARY 

OF THE 

U N IVER5ITY 

Of ILLINOIS 

V.I 





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BROWN AS A BERRY. 



BROWN AS A BERRY 



% lofatl. 



BY 



GEOEGE DOUGLAS. 



■That piebald mixture of black and white, called Man." 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. I. 



LONDON : 

TINSLEY BEOTHERS, 8, CATHERmE STREET, STRAND. 
1874. 

[All rights of Irantlation and Eeproduction are reserved.] 



SA.VILL, EDWAEDS VNO CO., PRINTEES, CHANDOS STREET, 
COVENT GARDElf. 



V.I 



TO 



K THE RIGHT HONOUEABLE THE EARL OP HOME 



THIS STOEY, 

WITH HIS 'lordship's KIND PEKMISSION, 



"V-. 



"H BY HIS MOST OBEDIENT AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, 

■5 



X THE AUTHOE. 






4 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 



PROLOGUE. 
Scene I. 



BOUT eight o^clock on a briglit frosty 
morning in December, 185 — _, a boy 
called Luke Mark — who was spending his 
Christmas holidays at the home of Jack Ferrier, 
his friend and schoolmate — was walking through 
the shrubbery of Blackbeck House. He is 
rather a nice-looking lad, with fair complexion, 
blue eyes, and hair of a shade a little darker 
than pale flaxen, and is fifteen years of age. 

In his hand he carries a catapult, from which 
he occasionally projects a stone with considerable 
force. 

Scratching about among the dead leaves and 
withered stalks of last summer^s flowers in the 
shrubbery, are some poultry. There is a cock 
and five hens. They are of a kind particularly 

VOL. I. 1 



2 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

prized by the owner of Blackbeck House, who 
has recently been assigned a gold cup for their 
excellence at a show held in the neighbouring 
town of Marchton some weeks before. 

Without thinking what he is doing, and as 
much out of idleness as mischief, Mark picks 
up a stone, fixes it in his catapult, and taking 
aim, hits one of the five hens on the head, 
which drops down dead. Pleased with his 
success, and unaware or forgetful that these 
are the prize poultry, he takes another stone 
and fires it, and after that another, until the 
cock and the five hens are all killed. 

It is not until he sees the unfortunate poultry 
lying prostrate on the ground that the thought- 
less and mischievous boy awakens to the full 
perception of the consequences of his action. If 
the birds had been of a common breed he could 
easily have repaired the damage by purchasing 
some new fowls with his pocket money, but these 
particular ones had been sent to Mr. Terrier from 
abroad, and were, he firmly believed, the only 
specimens of the sort in England. 

" By George ! Vvc done it now \" exclaims 
Mark, contemplating the dead poultry with un- 
utterable horror, and dropping the catapult as 
though it had stung him or burnt his fingers, he 
tries to get the cock on its legs, but of course 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 3 

without success. '^The beggar is as dead as 
mutton \" 

Then lie reflects that being a visitor at Black- 
beck House, it is not probable that Mr. Terrier 
will do more than look glum or give a severe 
reprimand. He is duly thankful he is not one 
of Mr. Ferrier^s own sons, or he knows, in school- 
boy phrase, " he would catch it like mad.'' 

While thus thinking, two boys appear at the 
corner of the house with skates slung over their 
arms. These are Mr. Ferrier's two sons, William 
and Jack. The former is the same age as Luke 
Mark ; the other three years younger. 

" Come on, Luke,'' shouts Jack. '^ I've been 
down to the big pond, and it's bearing all over. 
We need not come home until five o'clock, as 
we're to dine with the rest to-night. And 
mother's given me lots of grub, and a shilling 
besides to buy some pale ale." 

" No, really ? How stunning !" returns Mark, 
and without another thought about the un- 
lucky poultry, he scampers off with the rest of 
the boys. Something is sure to turn up be- 
tween this and the evening. He does just once 
wish, but it is merely a passing wish in the 
excitement of a stirring game of hockey, that he 
had had the sense to dig a hole and bury the 
poultry, and then it might have been supposed 

1 — 2 



4 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

they had been stolen. However, it is too late 
now for any regrets to be of use. 

The three boys have scarcely got out of sight, 
when Mr. Terrier, with a cigar in his mouth, 
walks through the shrubbery on his way to the 
stables. 

Almost the first thing which meets his eye 
is the catapult beside the dead bodies of the 
defunct cock and hens. The next minute he has 
called all the servants out of the house, and is 
questioning them very minutely as to the author 
of the deed — on which subject, however, no one 
is able to throw any light. Mr. Terrier then 
lifts up the catapult, on which is written dis- 
tinctly the initials J. F. 

''J. F. That stands for Jack Ferrier,'^ he 
says. " I think I have discovered who killed my 
poor prize poultry, and I shall give him some- 
thing to-night which will make him leave off 
these practical jokes.''^ 

The servants go back to the house, congratu- 
lating themselves they are not Master Jack. 
After this, Mr. Ferrier cuts several tough 
branches from an old ash tree at the end of the 
shrubbery, and as he swishes them one after the 
other through the air, regrets there will not be 
time to season them properly ; but, nevertheless, 
they will answer the purpose for which he in- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 5 

tends them. Then Mr. Ferrier rides over to 
Marchton, where he has a business engagement 
which occupies him for the remainder of the 
day. 

Towards evening the boys return, very hungry 
and rosy from their long skate. Dinner not 
being quite ready _, they employ themselves in 
making toffy over a blazing fire in the library. 
Charity Ferrier, a pretty graceful girl of fourteen, 
already admired in Marchton, is sitting with the 
boys. She has a great love of ruling, and 
tyrannizes over her mother — a gentle woman, 
idolized by her husband and sons. 

" How my chilblains rage V exclaims Jack, 
rubbing his right hand, on the palm of which a 
large chilblain has thought fit to settle. " Hark ! 
that^s the sound of the carriage taking mother off 
to the Towers. She's going to dine there to- 
night.'' 

" There's some one coming along the passage," 
says Charity, as a heavy tread is heard outside 
the door. 

Mark gives a start. 

Has Mr. Ferrier found out who did it ? He 
remembers he never thought of looking whether 
any one had been standing at the window. 
Until this moment he had completely forgotten 
the disagreeable fact. His heart and his courage 



6 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

seem slipping right into the heels of his shoes^ as 
Mr. Ferrier enters the room. 

He is a tall, powerfully-built man, with a 
stern cast of features which can look very severe 
when angry, and just now he is very angry. 

But for the light of the fire burning clear and 
brilliant in the frost, it is dusk in the library. 
The leaping flames throw the figures of the slim 
girl and her flaxen curls, and the three expectant 
boys, into dark Rembrandt shadows and warm 
softened lights, touching the countenances with 
the mellow tints produced by holding a candle at 
a little distance in a darkened room. 

There has been a splendid sunset over the 
broad expanse of the flat Lincolnshire fens, the 
creeks, and morasses, and quicksands of its dan- 
gerous coast, and the sun itself has sunk behind 
the wolds, leaving some ragged crimson clouds 
floating over the burnished orange-gold sky, 
against which stand out some tall, straight, 
weird poplar-trees, and the steeple of Marchton 
church. 

" Do any of you boys here know who killed 
my prize poultry ?^^ begins Mr. Ferrier. 

" No, sir,'^ return the three boys at once — 
two of them with perfect truth ; the other a 
little hesitatingly. But after all Luke argues, 
did he do it ? What fools the birds were to get 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 7 

in his way ; and to be sure^ it was the stone 
which finished the poultry^ not he. 

'^ I asked you/' proceeds Mr. Ferrier^ ^^ to 
give Jack a chance of acknowledging the wanton 
mischief he has done. I shall not take the 
trouble of contradicting you. Stand forward, 
Jack. Do you recognise this catapult V 

^^Yes, it-'s mine/^ replies Jack. 

" Where do you think I found it ? Lying 
beside the dead poultry."' 

" I did not kill them, father/'' protests the 
boy ; " I know nothing about it." 

" Was it you, William ?" 

" No, sir." 

" Was it vou, Luke Mark ?" 

" No, sir." 

Luke detests himself for the lie. But he sees 
those ground- ashes in Mr. Terrier's hand, and 
he has felt them on his back before now, and did 
not like the application. Now that he has denied 
it, the confession would be all the more difficult. 

" Have any of you had Jack's catapult ?" goes 
on Mr. Terrier. " Some of you may have taken 
it by mistake." 

But William steadfastly denies having done so, 
and Mark corroborates him. 

" Then, my man, you had better confess at 
once," says Mr. Terrier. " I shall give you a 



8 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

thrashing as you deserve^ but it wont be so bad 
as if you stick to your lie/^ 

'' I didn^t do it/^ is all Jack answers. 

Mark feels what a coward he is as the ash 
falls with a swinging whizz on Jack^s back^ yet 
fond as he is of his chum and school friend, he 
cannot compel his courage to return sufficiently 
to save the boy from the punishment which is 
justly his own. 

When three ground-ashes are broken to bits, 
and some rents are visible on Jack^s jacket, Mr. 
Terrier pauses to take a fresh one. Jack has 
hitherto been silent. 

" Will you confess now T' he asks. 

" No, I wont/^ he replies. ^' V\e nothing to 
confess.^^ 

Mr. Ferrier is thoroughly enraged at what 
he considers JacFs stubbornness and obstinacy. 
Brought up himself on the principle of " Spare 
the rod, spoil the child,^^ he has no notion of 
letting Jack off one inch of what he thinks 
proper correction. He has no idea of con- 
doning an offence. If a man or boy has sinned 
or offended, he deserves punishment. He be- 
lieves that the old-fashioned system produces 
finer and more honourable men than the pre- 
sent style — men, in fact, capable of heroism 
and of uncomplaining endurance. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 9 

^' Hold out your hand, Jack/^ he commands. 

Jack extends the left, hoping his father will 
not ask for the right. 

''^Not that one/'' cries Mr. Terrier, exas- 
perated beyond measure at his son, and snatch- 
ing the boy^s right hand, he proceeds to rain 
blow after blow upon the palm on which is 
the chilblain before mentioned. Jack sets his 
teeth hard ; but do what he will he cannot 
prevent a low cry of intense pain escaping his 
lips ; for every blow of the ash causes exquisite 
torture in the inflamed flesh, and each stroke 
draws blood. 

Mark cannot stand it any longer, and catches 
hold of the ground-ash, crying out — 

•^ Oh, Mr. Terrier^ please don't ; he did not 
do it." 

Jack looks gratefully at his champion, but 
holds his tongue. 

" It's very good of you, Mark,'''' says Mr^ 
Ferrier ; ^' but if Jack did not do it, who did 1'^ 

Much as Mark loves Jack, he is unable to 
avow the truth. No one could hate his 
cowardice more than he does himself, still he 
cannot bring himself to speak out. 

"Will you confess now?''' again says Mr. 
Ferrier. 

Jack only shakes his head. He has nearly 



10 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

bitten his nether lip through, in the effort to 
restrain his cries. 

" Well, youVe about had enough for to-day/' 
observes Mr. Terrier. '^ It^ll take you a little 
while to get over this; perhaps by that time 
you'll have come to your senses. I'm deter- 
mined to break you of these mischievous tricks. 
I wish you would take pattern of your friend 
Mark ; he is all that a gentleman should be, 
quiet, polite, and still not a muff." 

Calliog Charity to come to dinner with Wil- 
liam and Mark, he leaves Jack alone, after 
telling him he is to have neither dinner nor 
supper that day. 

Jack has, indeed, ^' about had enough." He 
sits down on the rug and wraps his bleeding 
hand in his pocket-handkerchief, feeling very 
dizzy and " queer /' then, overpowered by the 
heat of the fire, the pain in his back, and the 
agony of his wounded member, he faints off 
quietly on to the floor. 

" Coom, coom, Measter Ja-ack," says a voice, 
when all have gone in to dinner, which, had 
Jack been conscious, he would have recognised 
as that of the fat cook. His misfortunes have 
spread to the kitchen, and the worthy head 
of the culinary regions, with whom, in spite 
of many tricks, he has always been first favourite, 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 11 

has brought him some food. " Doan't ee be 
stiint, Measter Ja-ack. Coom, coom now/'' as 
if addressing a refractory horse. " Hoowiver, 
Tve fetched ee some maazin^ foin fried taates, 
and if ee dosen^t eat ''em 1^11 eat nn mysen." 
Then fancying she hears Mr. Terrier leaving 
the dining-room, she shuffles off to her own 
domain. No one comes to Jack. Mr. Terrier 
insists that Charity and the boys - shall remain 
in the drawing-room_, and as he is completely 
master in his own house, his will is implicitly 
observed. Mark is excessively uncomfortable at 
the notice paid him by Mr. Terrier. He 
begged to be allowed to take Jack some din- 
ner j but was peremptorily refused. The praise 
lavished on him of generosity, hurts him almost 
as much as the ground-ashes did Jack^s back. 
What evil spirit induced him to shy stones at the 
poultry ? He has relinquished any feeble in- 
tention he might have had of telling now. 
Jack will soon be all right again, and he will 
endeavour to compensate hira in some way for 
the severe thrashing he has had. 

The moon has risen high in the sky, 
and the stars are shining over the wolds, 
a dark undulating ridge against the horizon, 
and the shadows of the leafless trees are cast 
black on the dry, hard ground, when some 



12 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

one witli a lamp in her hand enters the 
library. 

Jack has come to himself sometime ago,, but 
was too stiff and cold to care to move. So he 
lay still where he was. He opens his eyes 
to see a woman in white satin, with diamonds 
gleaming in the smooth folds of her dark, 
braided hair, bending over him. For the 
moment, he imagines he beholds some beautiful 
creation of dreamland— not a real woman in 
flesh and blood. And years afterwards, when 
in the wilds of California and the gay city of 
San Francisco, in the depths of an American 
pine forest, and up the banks of the Yang-t^se- 
Kiang, he remembers how fair his mother looked 
in the radiance of the moonlight. They are 
very like each other— ^this mother and son — 
only Jack is the plain edition of a charming 
woman. Both have black hair and steel-grey 
eyes, with black lashes and black brows ; 
but Mrs. Ferrier's mouth and nose are well 
formed, while Jack^s are nothing out of the 
ordinary. 

" My dear boy," she says, placing her arms 
tenderly round him, '' you have been in trouble, 
I hear. Why did not you admit you had done 
it, if you had V 

'^ I wasn^t going to say Fd done it when I 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 13 

hadn^t. I wouldn^t to escape a worse thrashing 
than I had to-night/^ replies the boy, sturdily 
and somewhat sulkily. 

'^ You did not do it then, Jack?'^ 

'' No, mother, I didn't/' 

Mrs. Terrier stoops down and kisses her 
youngest child, the apple of her eye, her daily 
anxiety. 

" Father does rile a fellow so ; he never be- 
lieves one, even upon one's oath. And then he 
keeps saying he must ^ break' one in. I'd die 
sooner than be broken in." 

" Jack, Jack ! he says you were sulky, 
but I think he was mistaken. You know he 
valued the poultry greatly, and it is very annoy- 
ing that they should have been killed. It was 
natural he was angry. But, my dear boy, what 
is the matter with your jacket ? Have you 
torn it ?" 

'' No," says Jack, " it's the ground-ashes 
that did it. But it's an old jacket j so it's no 
matter." 

" You must be terribly hurt," she exclaims, 
turning the lamp so as to throw light on his 
back. ^^Why, your jacket and shirt are slit to 

bits ! Surely your father " she stops, for to 

preserve peace and harmony between father and 
son is the object of her life^ and young as he is^ 



14 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Jack has a keen sense of justice. He believes his 
father has a pleasure in singling him out as an 
offender on all occasions. Mrs. Ferrier is anxious 
to remove this unfortunate feeling, but this 
event will not tend to improve their relations. 

" My back will be all serene in a couple of 
weeks. I daresay it is black and blue. It^s 
my hand that hurts most/^ pulling it out from 
his trousers^-pocket. The handkerchief had dried 
into the wound, and an attempt to drag it off 
produced a flow of blood. " Take care of your 
pretty gown, mother. It^ll make no end of a 
mess of it/^ he cries, anxiously. 

" Oh, never mind the gown,^' she says, " you 
had better go to bed now, and I'll try and 
doctor up this poor hand.^' 

Mark is sleeping in Jack's room ; but his 
qualms of conscience keep him still awake. He 
is a warm-hearted boy^ sincerely attached to 
Jack, and considerably spoilt by the uncle and 
aunt who, in the absence of either father or 
mother, have brought him up. He shams being 
asleep, however, while Mrs. Ferrier, after pinning 
her white satin gown out of her way, bathes 
Jack's hand with warm water, and is thus 
enabled to remove the dried stiffened handker- 
chief. He hears Mrs. Ferrier wonder why Jack 
did not say he had not been in the shrubbery 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 15 

that morning, as William could have proved he 
Tvas with him at the pond ; and listens to Jack^s 
reply, it would have been useless, Mr. Ferrier 
having determined beforehand he was guilty. 

" Are you warmer now V asks Mrs. Ferrier. 

" Yes, this jolly hot stuff has warmed me to 
the ends of my feet. Give Luke there a wine- 
glass of it. He tried to beg me off, you 
know.^' 

Luke is compelled to sit up and partake of 
the negus, and it is doubtful if any coals of fire 
ever felt hotter, or if any act of Jack^s could 
have gone further towards knitting together and 
cementing firmer his respect and friendship for 
his chum. 

" You are very kind, Mrs. Ferrier," he stam- 
mers. 

" I am fond of boys, especially of school 
boys," smiles the pretty woman, who shines as 
much at home as in society. She does not wish 
to " mollycoddle" her sons, and trusts they 
will grow up brave, fearless, truth-speaking men, 
but she resolves Jack shall never again be so 
severely punished as he has been this evening. 
Such a little lad, too, she thinks, as she looks at 
the dark head reposing on the white pillow. How 
could Mr. Ferrier have done it ? It was a pity 
he should be so fatally convinced that Jack of 



16 BROWN AS A BERRSr. 

necessity must always do wrong, and never 
right. 

" Mother, you^re a trump ^ says Jack sud- 
denly, pulling her face down to him by the un- 
injured hand, and giving her a hearty kiss. 

Then Mrs. Terrier whispers something. 

" I weant, I weant," he answers, in broad 
Lincolnshire, ^' Fll niver forgive ^un.''^ 

^' Yes, you will, dear.-*^ 

" Well,"" very reluctantly, " for you I will.^'' 

Mark lies awake for some time after Mrs. 
Terrier has gone. What a nasty little sneak I 
have been, he reflects. But if it were to come 
over again, he knows he would just do the same. 
Now that the room is dark and the whole house 
hushed and quiet, he thinks he might unburden 
his conscience. Now or never. 

" Jack,^^ he calls, '^ Jack — I say, Jack.''^ But 
the only answer is a prolonged and prosaic 
snore. So, having done his duty, and relieved 
his mind by attempting to tell, he turns over on 
his side and goes to sleep. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 17 



Scene II. 

It is six years since Mr. Ferrier was enraged by 
the mysterious death of his prize poultry. This 
still remains unexplained, and probably will con- 
tinue to do so. However, it has long ago been 
forgotten. 

The family party, consisting of Mr. and 
Mrs. Ferrier, Charity, William, and Jack, are 
in the library, where Jack had been thrashed 
that winter evening for what he had never 
done. 

Now it is summer time. 

Mr. Ferrier is speaking. 

'^You may do as you like. Jack, but you are 
a fool if you refuse. It is eight hundred a year, 
even if you clap in a curate and pay him a 
hundred. You need only preach one sermon 
in the year. That^s what old Burnley did. 
Preached one sermon in the twelve months, 
drove to church in his carriage, brought his own 
port with him — easy as A B C.^^ 

"I don't think I'm fitted for the Church,^' 
replies Jack, quietly. He is a tall well-made 
youth, rather in the hobbledehoy stage as yet, 

VOL. I. 2 



18 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

but giving promise of beings thougb not hand- 
some, a manly-looking fellow. " Besides, I should 
not like to put in a curate to do all the hard 
•work and give him only a hundred a year, while 
I did nothing and was paid eight hundred. It 
doesn*t seem fair.^^ 

" You are very silly, Jack,^' says Charity. 
She has grown into an elegant woman, and is 
now engaged to a Lieutenant Napier, who has 
excellent prospects from a wealthy great-uncle, 
who has already reached the age of threescore 
years and ten. 

" What would you advise me to do, mother T^ 
asks Jack. 

'' What you think right and honourable,''^ re- 
joins Mrs. Terrier. " I should like much the 
best to have you settled near us; but if it is 
against your inclinations, I had rather you did 
not." 

'^ You^ll never have such an opportunity 
again,''-' pursues Mr. Terrier. "And think of 
the position you would have. A clergyman can 
move in the best society, and '' 

'* You might be a bishop, and be called my 
lord," suggests Charity. 

" As well say an archbishop at once," laughs 
Jack. " Oh yes ; and l^d have you all over to 
stay with me three months in the year at the 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 19 

Archiepiscopal Palace. ' How does that sound 
for high/ as a Yankee chap I met the other day 
said V 

" Your figure is just suited for the style of 
dress^ knee-breeches and all that/^ says William. 

" I am not cut out for a parson/-* returns 
Jack. " Why, when I stood up in the pulpit to 
preach and saw the congregation sitting before 
me, I should be in such a blue funk, I^d want to 
hook out into the vestry. I shouldn^t be a bit 
happier for being called my lord. In fact, it 
would make me very uncomfortable. It requires 
a special vocation to become a clergyman, and I 
haven^t got any vocation. You would be having 
serious complaints that the Rev. J. Terrier at- 
tended coursing matches and steeple-chases; 
that he hunted in pink in Lent — I shouldn't 
be able to help it, if Td a good horse, and 
there happened to be a meet with the scent 
lying well — or that he drove tandem to 
church.'^ 

" Vocation be hanged \" breaks in Mr. Terrier. 
" You don't want a vocation. Any one can be a 
clergyman. YouVe only to get up a certain 
tone in reading ; and as to preaching the 
sermons, you can buy a lot ready to hand, and 
you can copy them out on Saturday night in 
clear writing.'^ 

2— :j 



20 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

^^ I am very mucli obliged to Mr. Tresham 
for the offer, but I must decline it/-* says 
Jack. 

" Then you are a born fool, and I shall 
wash my hands of you altogether/^ replies Mr. 
Ferrier, angrily. ^' Now, Alice, don^t back hira 
up in his folly. ^' 

" It isnH that I wont : it^s because I can't, 
mother/^ responds Jack, looking appealingly at 
Mrs. Terrier. 

"Well, Jack, if you wont accept it, 1^11 tell 
you what I shall do. I shall pay your outfit to 
Shanghai, and your journey money, and give 
you three hundred pounds to keep yourself until 
you find something to do. I daresay Luke 
Mark will give you some help. You understand 
that is your portion. I canH afford a penny 
more, so it will be useless your attempting to 
ask me. If it is not enough, you must go 
without.-'' 

" Oh, John ; it's such a distance across the 
sea to China,'' pleads Mrs. Ferrier. 

" Now, Jack," says her husband, in a more 
conciliatory tone, '^ if you go away, you'll break 
your mother's heart, and it will be the fault of 
your obduracy. Somehow or another she is 
awfully attached to you, young scamp as you are. 
Don't you see it would be better for yourself 



BROWN AS A BERRY, 21 

and for all of us if you would agree to be a 
clergyman and settle at Marshley close beside 
us ? You could do all those things you spoke of 
in moderation. Muscular Christianity is the 
order of the day/' 

" If mother really wants me, and thinks I 
ought, ril try to enter the Church; but I 
know I was never made for a parson. One 
ought to have better motives than a good settle- 
ment in life, good society, and good position — 
and honestly those would be mine/'' 

" Then I think Jack had better not force 
himself,^' replies Mrs. Ferrier. '' If any good is 
to come of it, I thoroughly agree with him, the 
motives ought to be of the very highest and 
purest character, as it is the noblest profession 
on earth.^' 

« Very well," answers Mr. Ferrier. '^ Then 
it's the three hundred pounds and China. You 
always spoilt that boy, Alice.'' 

" Dear Jack 1 I don't know how I shall ever 
part with him." 

^'^ He ought to have gone into the Church, and 
there would have been no parting for you. 
Fancy a fat living of 900/. a year, and hardly 
any work to do, going a begging !" 



22 BROWN AS A BERRY. 



Scene III. 

It is a magnificent moonlight night in the Island 
of Formosa. 

The air is alive with fireflies,, and the long 
rolling waves shine with phosphoric light. The 
Datura trees wave their blooming masses as a 
night breeze passes by, and one or two perfumed 
spikes fall sleepily from among them to the 
ground. Far over the moonlit waters the silver 
radiance glimmers, showing a sail and the red 
gleam of a lamp at the head of a steamer an- 
chored at a bend in the bay, some little distance 
from the shore. 

Moored high and dry on the beach is a boat, 
and two sailors in the dress of " Greenes Mer- 
chant Service '' are waiting near it. 

Through the tropical splendour of the glorious 
southern night come a man and a woman, both 
in the prime of life and beauty. She rides a 
milk-white ox, which crushes the sweet-scented 
waxen cinnamon flowers beneath its heavy feet. 
They go under arches of scarlet and purple 
passion flowers, among which the fireflies flit in 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 23 

and out ; their dancing lights flickering hither 
and thither like tiny globules of flame over the 
Leads of the man and woman, as they journey 
downwards to the sea shore. 

The man leans his hand caressingly on the 
arm of the woman, when they are within a 
few paces of the boat and the sailors, and looks 
up into her face. 

'^ My Lilith V he says, with profound tender- 
ness in his deep tones, " mon idole ! mon 
^me !" 

*^^Will you be faithful after what I have 
abandoned for you ?" she asks. " I have for- 
saken all to follow you.'' 




CHAPTER I. 



OOD mornings Mum ; I hope you haf 
brouglit your umbrella with you. The 
weather here has been very wet and stormy. All 
the pupils have cried one after the oder. It is one 
great consolation to see you, for you never cry, 
Thyrza. You are as dry as von leetle sponge.''^ 

Sitting down at the piano, Thyrza E-utherfurd 
strikes the first notes of the Sonata pathetique. 
Mr. Spindler rises from his chair and paces 
round the room,, his hands behind his back, 
and beats time with a long ruler. He is an 
elderly man, very fat and stumpy, with strongly 
marked aquiline features, snow white hair, and 
an irrepressible propensity for taking unlimited 
quantities of snuff. " Ach, mein Gott ! A wrong 
note there,^^ he cries, in a tone of unspeakable 
anguish. " Fit T tell you, Mum, slower, slower ; 
you play as if your fingers were running away 
with you. F^ I say, Mum/^ 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 25 

^^ There is no r|f printed where I am playing, 
the girl ventures to remonstrate. 

" Not dere, of course. I mean two bars 
previous/^ he responds, having looked all over 
the page to find a place where Fit is marked. 
" That fingering will never do ! Begin again 
from the top of the page.^^ 

Accordingly, Thyrza recommences and pro- 
ceeds smoothly enough for some time ; when 
Mr. Spindler, suddenly resuming his seat, 
abruptly jerks her hands from the key-board, 
exclaiming in a voice of thunder, '^ What are 
you doing, Mum ?" 

Taken by surprise, and almost electrified by 
his unexpected attack, she springs up from the 
music stool, almost overturning it in her rapid 
movements, and cries out — 

" Oh, Monsieur Spindler V 

" Well, well ! I intended not to terrify thee," 
says he, consolingly, taking possession of her 
vacated seat, and running his fingers lightly 
over the notes. " What wild frightened eyes 
thou hast ! But that enfant terrible who pre- 
cede thee, it is one mistake that she learn 
music ! She make me mad, crazy, distracted. 
I no able to sit still when she play ! I spik"* 
English like my own tongue, is it not so ? but 
she no understand, and when I tell her she is 



26 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

all out of time she do nothing but cry_, cry, cry, 
' oh !' '* shaking his head and groaning deeply, 
^at is awful !'' 

As Mr. Spindler relates his troubles, the 
twanging of a guitar is heard outside the open 
window through which the old man sees the 
sunburnt face of a ragged Italian boy. He 
is dancing on the pavement to solicit alms for 
himself and his guinea-pig, which small animal 
he holds tucked tightly under his arm while 
he turns and twists and leaps with a grace 
and litheness in his supple slender limbs that 
is nature^s own gift. 

A tattered hat adorned with some peacock^s 
feathers is placed on the back of his jet black 
locks, beneath which shine a pair of melting 
brown eyes. An orange-coloured cravat, fastened 
under his chin, conceals sundry deficiencies in 
the froDt of his not over-clean shirt, and the 
guitar is slung over his shoulder by a bit of 
red twine. 

The street is narrow, and as eaich story rises 
higher it approaches in proximity to its neigh- 
bours, so closely that at last the houses almost 
meet in friendly touch, and only a small piece of 
sky above is visible to the foot passengers below. 
Opposite the pension in which Thyrza is having 
her music lesson is the old hotel of the Flying 



BEOWN AS A BERRY. 27 

Dragon^ whither travellers en route for the 
Rhine country occasionally resort. The gor- 
geous sign of the Flying Dragon, painted 
with bright scarlet on a golden ground, which 
hangs suspended over the grey weather-beaten 
arched entrance to the courtyard beyond, is the 
only morsel of colour or light in the sombre 
dusky rue. 

The diligence, running for the convenience of 
the public between Villios and Trois d^Or, a 
little village ten miles distant, has just arrived. 
The tired dusty horses draw up, and from the in- 
side of the vehicle descend several jaded English 
tourists, two Sisters of Charity with sweet gentle 
faces, one gentleman in a light grey overcoat 
and a tall handsome woman attired in the 
barbaric contrast of a grass green satin gown 
with a ruby bonnet. She has on a thick black 
veil, and turns her steps at once in the direction 
of the pension, formerly a convent dedicated to 
S. Sebastian the Martyr, but now consecrated 
to the education of young ladies under the 
fostering care of Miss Holt, a spinster of an un- 
decided age, though of a very decided temper. 

The Italian picks up some sous thrown to 
him by the gentleman, and begins again his 
impromptu tarentelle before the window of the 
room where Thyrza and Mr. Spindler are sitting, 



28 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

this time accompanying his music and dance 
with a song, in a clear, childish treble voice. 
•He dances as much for the mere pleasure of 
being alive this fine spring morning, and for the 
delight in the quick motion, as for the sake of 
the hlthy lucre he may gain. 

The Sonata pathetique andante movement is 
out of the question. 

" I go crazy V^ exclaims Mr. Spindler; " it is 
but this moment there was ein horrible brass 
band to whom I give a franc not to play. Then 
there was a man selling flowers, and a woman 
with vegetables ; and now this imp has come. It 
is too moch. Will you go away, sar?^"* 

The Italian laughs, but only redoubles his 
exertions, singing louder and dancing faster — a 
picture, in his rags and dirt, for a painter. Mr. 
Spindler does not take this view of the case 
at all. 

'^ Andate al diavolo V^ he shouts, at the top 
of his voice, to the astonished boy, opening the 
window wider; and doubling his fists, he shakes 
them menacingly, throwing as much ferocious- 
ness into his mild blue eyes as he can impart 
to them. 

Terrified at the irate countenance glaring forth 
upon him, the child drops his little guinea-pig, 
which scuttles across the street under the body 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 29 

of the diligence, appearing among the hoofs of 
the horses. 

" Oh ! my only friend V the boy exclaims, in 
French,, rushing after his pet. Heedless of his 
own safety, he crawls beneath the fresh horses 
the ostler is attaching to the worn-ont rope 
harness for the return journey to Trois d^Or, 
and succeeds in catching the guinea-pig ; but as 
he rises, his foot trips on the loosely-hanging 
string of his guitar, and he falls, striking his 
head against a projecting stone of the uneven 
pavement. There he lies motionless. The guinea- 
pig, with more affection than is generally sup- 
posed to be possessed by their species, walks up 
his breast, looking into his face as if to inquire 
what is the matter with his master. 

Mr. Spindler, on witnessing the accident, is 
instantly smitten with remorse, considering him- 
self the original cause of the misfortune. 

'' Vat haf I done?" he laments ; '^ mein Gott ! 
the leetle knabe is dead, and I haf killed him ! 
Thyrza, run quickly — get through the window — 
you jomp easily down ; it is but von leetle 
distance. Go, and I will come out by the front 
door. Go," seeing Thyrza hesitate, " Miss Holt 
will not know — she is at the other side of the 
house — and if she does, I will settle everything. 
Run." 



30 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

In obedience to his orders, Thyrza lets lierself 
drop down into tlie street by the window, which 
is only about two feet from the ground, and 
hastens to the assistance of the boy. 

The gentleman in the light overcoat, who 
arrived in the diligence, has hitherto been occu- 
pied in counting over his luggage, but he aban- 
dons this employment on noticing the mishap to 
the small Italian, and by the time Thyrza reaches 
the hotel of the Flying Dragon, has lifted the 
child from the ground and is sitting on the 
pavement, holding him in his arms. The guinea- 
pig has taken refuge in the pocket of the boy^s 
threadbare, tattered jacket, and peers curiously 
out with its round, black eyes. 

" I think I will carry him into the hotel," 
says the gentleman, speaking apparently more 
for his own benefit than for that of any one in 
particular. Then he addresses Thyrza directly. 

" Perhaps you will have the kindness to help 
me in rising. The boy is not a light weight.^"* 

Thyrza extends her hand. He seizes it with 
no very gentle grasp, and, regaining his feet, 
enters the doorway of the Flying Dragon. 
Thyrza follows at a modest distance behind him 
to see what the end will be. In her way she 
nearly stumbles headlong over a pile of luggage, 
addressed to J. Ferrier^ Esq. A porter is 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 31 

arranging the boxes in a curiously artistic man- 
ner, placing the small parcels first and the large 
ones on the top of them, the result of which she 
inwardly prophesies will be an immediate down- 
fall. 

Just opposite an open door reveals a large 
fire blazing in a capacious grate, a clean sanded 
floor, several rows of shining brass, copper, 
and pewter pots, pans and dish-covers ; cup- 
boards filled with china and crockeryware orna- 
ment the darkened walls, while a pleasant smell, 
as of savoury meat cooking, issues into the 
passage. 

Mr. Terrier halts here a moment, then turns 
in at a door on the lefthand side of the 
kitchen. This room is misty with smoke, and 
reeking with the fumes of tobacco. It is the 
billiard-room of the hotel, where travellers, if 
they wish, may also be provided with coifee and 
the petite presse of the day. 

Originally the Flying Dragon was a noble- 
man^s house, and it still retains traces of its 
former aristocratic owner in the ornaments 
of carved wood which decorate the mantel-pieces 
of most of the apartments. The billiard-room 
is panelled with black oak^ one large thick beam, 
ornamented with rich carvings of pomegranates 
and hop leaves, crosses transversely the low 



32 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

ceiling, let in witli paintings on wood of various 
historic scenes, executed with rather more than 
ordinary skill by some Flemish painter long since 
dead and gone. The fireplace is wide, and inlaid 
with encaustic tiles. Properly speaking there is 
no grate ; an iron brazier, rusty with age and 
damp, in winter holds a handful of fire, but for 
the nonce the brazier contains a delf jug filled 
with spring flowers, whose scent is completely 
lost in the fumes of tobacco. 

In this quaint room, in which one would 
rather fancy the gay costumes of two hundred 
years ago than the modern, tame, stifi" apparel, 
are placed a couple of exceedingly worn out 
horse-hair sofas, a looking glass with a tarnished 
gilt frame swathed in yellow gauze ; and several 
chairs, evidently of the same date and origin 
as the sofas, are ranged in various corners. 

" Poor little lad V' says Mr. Ferrier, laying 
the boy down with gentle hands on one of the 
sofas. " Hallo ! Adolphe, Alphonse, Jean,^-* he 
calls without in the passage, pausing a moment 
to apostrophize the porter to have a care of his 
luggage ; " these are common French Christian 
names, are they not ? How deaf these people 
are ! Well, Providence, they say, helps those 
who help themselves. Can you give me some 
assistance. Mademoiselle ?'' 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 33 

Emptying some water from a carafFe standing 
on the table into a tumbler,, he asks Thyrza to 
hold the glass for him. But when she ap- 
proaches the sofa she turns sick and faint ; the 
child^s face is covered with blood, that has 
trickled down from the wound in his forehead 
staining the smart orange scarf, while his eyes 
are widely distended, without any expression or 
emotion in the staring balls. 

" Je ne puis pas, Monsieur/^ she stammers, 
with an involuntary retrograde movement, and 
nearly letting the tumbler slip from her trembling 
grasp. 

" Just like a woman V^ exclaims Mr. Terrier, 
in very Anglicized French. "Are you going to 
faint too, and make a scene ? Stand back. 
Mademoiselle, and let the patient have as much 
air as can be obtained in this stuffy little 
room.^' 

A laugh greets this speech, which is more 
intelligible from the manner of delivery than 
from the correctness of the grammar, and look- 
ing round, Thyrza discovers that the room is by 
no means so destitute of tenants as it was at 
first, but on the contrary, is pretty well filled 
with commis-voyageurs, strolling artists, and 
one or two actors who belong to a provincial 
company. They have entered by another door 

VOL. I. 3 



34 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

from the salle-a-manger. Most of them are 
sallow bearded Frenchmen, and they are gesti- 
culating and vociferating noisily, after the fashion 
of their country when anything uncommon 
occurs. 

" Take a chair and sit down in comfort — do 
not stand there looking ready to drop. I 
thought at least I was sure of some help in 
trouble from a woman, even though she may be 
good for nothing else.'''' 

^^ I am not going to faint, Monsieur,^^ she 
answers, indignantly, in a sweet low voice, 
which draws the attention of the odd dozen 
Frenchmen upon her. Perceiving their eyes 
fixed in her direction, she flushes scarlet, and 
wishes profoundly that Mr. Spindler would 
make haste and deliver her from her embar- 
rassing position among a number of men whom 
she had never seen before. 

"If you are not going to faint, take the 
handkerchief and sponge like this," showing her 
how to manipulate the linen, "while I see if 
that bell over there will ring. He ought to have 
a medical man at once." 

Thyrza tries to obey, but her nerve fails her 
on touching the death-like face over which a 
crimson streak is flowing, and she grasps hold of 
the back of the chair for support. She is very 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 35 

angry witli her own stupidity — still she cannot 
help it. If she had been cast in an heroic 
mould, she would have been mistress of the 
position in a moment — have bound up the wound 
without the slightest previous knowledge being 
necessary, and by her elegance and ease of 
manner have charmed all the men, including Mr. 
Ferrier, at once. That is what she ought to 
have done. Instead of this, she feels supremely 
gauche, awkward, and out of place. With the 
instinct common to every woman who wishes to 
appear to the greatest advantage and is painfully 
conscious of being untidy, she puts her hand up 
to her head, and looks at herself in the mirror. 
The result is not flattering to her vanity. By 
its kindly aid she sees that her hair hangs about 
her shoulders and waist in rough masses, her 
collar is crumpled and awry. The fact, also, 
that she has neither hat nor jacket is palpable, 
and her brown, ink-stained fingers would be 
much improved by the addition of a pair of 
gloves. Mr. Terrier observes her glance at 
herself in the mirror. If the reflection in the 
glass be correct, her complexion is of a greenish- 
yellow hue, suggestive of recent recovery from 
jaundice, while one side of her face is swollen 
considerably larger than the other. 

"Not a pretty girl,'' thinks Mr. Ferrier, 

3—2 



36 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

nearly laughing ontriglit at the mortified expres- 
sion of Thyrza's countenance;, " and certainly'^ 
(taking into consideration her common dress, 
made without any attempt at trimming and very 
little at a fit, being the joint result of the united 
labours of JNIiss Holt and herself) " one of the 
untidiest I ever saw/'' 

But the old yellow gown, baggy and ill-made 
though it be, cannot wholly conceal the graceful 
proportions of a slender waist and a figure just 
rounding into womanhood, while the white collar 
closes over the soft curves of a smooth brown 
throat on which the small head is exquisitely 
set, and the short dress shows dainty little 
ankles. 

" Was there ever anything so utterly foolish, 
so vain, so frivolous, so useless in every sense 
of the word as a young, silly girl V he 
asks. 

" I am not useless, Monsieur,'^ protests Thyrza, 
with an indignant flash of her hazel eyes. 

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating. 
Pray what can you do V 

" I can make omelettes, and darn stockings, 
and teach English, and^^ — emphatically but 
vaguely — '' oh, heaps of things '/"' 

" Oh, indeed ! But I do not want you to 
exercise your skill in these matters at present,^-* 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 37 

he answers J bluntly ; " what did you come here 
for?^^ 

" Mr. Spindler sent me to help about the 
little boy/' answers she, twisting her slim_, ink- 
stained fingers together, and forgetting Mr. 
Terrier knows nothing of Mr. Spindler. 

" An immense deal you have helped, have you 
not ? Well, since you can do nothing else, try 
and ring the bell.'' 

" I— I shan't," she returns. '' Will you ?" 
she asks of one of the Frenchmen who is stand- 
ing near her. There is a general rush to the 
bell in compliance with her wishes, and the man 
who is successful in reaching it first pulls so 
vigorously that the bell does not stop ringing 
for more than five minutes when set in motion, 
and the rope — rotten, no doubt, from age — snaps 
in two. 

The landlady, thus imperatively summoned, 
quits her cooking operations in the kitchen, and 
arrives in the billiard-room very red in the face, 
and bringing with her an overpowering odour of 
garlic ; the landlord, the ostler, and several 
females present themselves in the doorway, utter- 
ing shrill or bass exclamations, according to their 
sex, of '^Mon Dieu !" '^ Oh, ciel !" "Dame!" 
and " Sacre !" with a liberal allowance of re's to 
the latter. 



38 BROWN AS A BEJIRY. 

'^ Where is de leetle knabe ? I hope I haf 
not killed him !" anxiously inquires Mr. Spindler^ 
waddling into the room. 

" Oh, he will come round — have no fear of 
that/^ replies Mr. Ferrier, translating literally 
the English into French. " I have sent one of 
these duffers for a doctor, and we shall have him 
right in a trice.^^ 

" I no comprehend/^ says Mr. Spindler. On 
which Thyrza renders the above into French. 
Duffer isj however, untranslatable. Thyrza, not 
being versed in English slang, pauses at the 
word. 

^^ Say bete, or stupid,^' rejoins Mr. Ferrier ; 
'' either word will do.^^ 

Mr. Spindler takes a mighty pinch of snuff, 
and a ray of hope illumines his doleful visage. 

" You no think anything will happen to me, 
sare?''-' he asks, in his broken English^ having 
detected the British element in the good Sama- 
ritan ; ^'^ I nevare toch him. I only say *^Andate 
al diavolo P and he run and fall on de oder side 
of the street.-'^ 

" Your mind may be quite easy on that 
subject,^^ answers Mr. Ferrier, " especially in a 
country where the jury always bring in ' ex- 
tenuating circumstances.'' They are a tender- 
hearted set of people here. They vivisect poor 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 39 

innocent animals in the name and interests of 
science, and let a fellow off with next to nothing 
who has perhaps chopped his father and mother 
into little bits V 

With the kindly presence of Mr. Spindler 
Thyrza^s courage revives. She ventures to un- 
fasten the boy^s cravat, and moisten his dry lips 
with water. Mr. Ferrier asks for some brandy, 
and pours a small quantity down the child^s 
throat. He has bound up the ghastly wound, 
but the blood still continues to ooze through the 
tight bandages. 

" That is better,^' says Mr. Ferrier to Thyrza. 
" 1 wish I had had a needle and thread to draw 
it together with. It would soon heal, and 
scarcely leave a scar." 

At this point the doctor is ushered into the 
billiard-room. He proceeds to examine the 
amount of injury the child has sustained, pro- 
nounces the bandages to be cleverly arranged, 
and decides the wound must be stitched up. 
Then he produces a case of glittering steel instru- 
ments, the sight of which causes Thyrza to shiver 
and shut her eyes, and in a few moments the 
operation is over. Shortly afterwards, the boy 
gives a deep sigh, and tries to sit up. He 
fumbles about with his fingers as if groping for 
something, and is evidently searching for the 



40 BROWN AS A BERET. 

guinea-pig. Thyrza lifts it out of his pocket, 
and places it in Ms hands. A smile of intelli- 
gence lights up the thin countenance. He feels 
his pet, and strokes it carefully. It is not hurt 
in any way. 

" Lie still, little man. You will be able to 
get up to-morrowj but you must rest for the 
present. Will you tell him. Mademoiselle ? He 
cannot make out my French. ^^ 

^' He is alive — he no die V exclaims Mr. 
Spindler, joyfully. " I dance for happiness V' 

So saying, on the spur of the moment he 
executes several pirouettes of delight at the relief 
to his feelings, which Mr. Ferrier regards much 
as Michal regarded the triumphal dancing of 
David before the ark. 

" I pay this gentleman for his attendance on 
the knahe/' continues Mr. Spindler, pulling out 
his purse, and addressing himself to the doctor. 

'^'^Not at all — allow me,"^' interi-upted Mr. 
Ferrier ; " it was purely an accident. You had 
nothing to do with it.-*^ 

" I will look in to-morrow and inquire how 
he is,^^ persists Mr. Spindler. 

"By all means, and I daresay you can 
contrive to get him apprenticed to some decen,t 
employment to save him from going about the 
country begging his bread. There is nothing 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 41 

further for you to do/'' adds Mr. Ferrier, coolly ; 
*^ so, I wish you bon jour. Thank you^ Made- 
moiselle, for your valuable services/^ with a 
mischievous look in his steel-grey eyes. " Shall 
you return by the window in the same way as 
you came ?" 

Thyrza would willingly part with her most 
precious possession in exchange for a witty and 
crushing reply wherewith to extinguish Ferrierj 
but having no answer ready, she merely answers, 
"Adieu, Monsieur.''^ 

As she and Mr. Spindler go back to the pension, 
the lady of the green gown passes by them into 
the hotel, and asks if the landlady can supply 
her with apartments. 




CHAPTER II. 

B*^HEKE has just been a shower of rain ; 
IHiM the clouds have cleared away ; the sun 
shines brightly again; the air is sweet and 
balmy ; grey and golden-brown-dressed sparrows 
chirp gaily as they fly under the eaves of the 
pension, with long ends of straw dangling from 
their bills; the blackbirds sing in the apple boughs, 
while they think of the surreptitious feasts they 
will have in the summer on the juicy cherries 
and ripe strawberries ; and the " silver spears^"* of 
rain-drops still fall pattering through the thick 
leaves. From where Thyrza is sitting, perched 
on a twisted branch of an old apple-tree that 
bears nothing in the autumn save a few sour 
dwarf green apples, she can see little beyond a 
sea of soft rose-tinted blossoms. Right across, 
divided by the river, half a dozen paces from 
her, stretch acres upon acres of pink-and -white 
orchards, only varied by the fresh green foliage 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 43 

that is rejoicing in its escape from its Tvinter 
shroud. To the left lies the town of Villios, 
grey and hoary, with red-tiled roofs to most of 
the houses, some of which having lately been 
repaired, turn into bright scarlet in the rays of 
the evening sun. Some distance nearer is the 
narrow Norman bridge, beneath which the river 
flows tranquilly to the sea, bearing on its breast 
the faded petals of " angeF^ blue forget-me-nots, 
and the swans, like those on " still St. Mary^s 
lake, float double — swan and shadow.^^ Close 
beside the bridge is a blacksmith^s forge: the clink, 
clink of the hammer comes musically across 
the river, red sparks fly out at the door ; blan- 
chisseuses are wringing linen in the water ; two 
or three boys are fishing with willow wands as 
rods, their breeches tucked up above their knees ; 
behind is the terraced gardens of the pension, 
its stifi", straight, formal walks, its cloisters and 
gables. 

Miss Holt, the head of the pension, is at 
tea with her pupils. Thyrza is generally hungry, 
as it is given only to schoolgirls and schoolboys 
to be ; but on this evening her appetite has 
deserted her, and she is enjoying the sweets 
of her favourite seat — a forbidden pleasure, 
and in consequence a much prized and doubly 
precious one. 



44 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

In a short time she will be obliged to go into 
the house to superintend the younger pupils 
preparing their lessons^ while she mends the 
house linen. Having reached the mature age 
of seventeen her education is supposed to be 
finished^ and as Miss Holt gives out she receives 
but little money in payment for her board, 
Thyrza in return saves Miss Holt the expense 
of employing a junior English teacher ; and Mr. 
Spindler, out of disinterested friendship, continues 
gratuitously his music lessons. 

In July the holidays begin, but there will 
not be much amusement for Thyrza : she will 
be left alone in the pension with old Mere 
Pantoutfle, while Miss Holt is enjoying herself 
in London or Brighton. Being an orphan 
without a fortune, Thyrza has her own way to 
make. Occasionally she has visions of going to 
Stuttgardt, as Mr. Spindler suggests, to study 
music and become a professional. Anything 
will be better than droning out her existence 
in this dead-alive pension : it would even be 
pleasanter to be a housemaid or one of the 
peasant women who work hard in the fields, 
for they are independent and can earn money, 
whilst Thyrza never knows what it is to call 
a sixpence her own, and for years has never 
had a new dress, always wearing Miss Holt^s 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 45 

old ones. All ! if she could only go to Stutt- 
gardt ! But then, where is the money to come 
from ? To be sure, she does not want for rela- 
tions. She has several uncles and aunts, all 
married and well-to-do in the world, and pro- 
vided with more or less numerous families ; but 
Mr. and Mrs. Rutherfiird having offended their 
people by their marriage, Thyrza shrinks from 
asking for their assistance. 

Mr. and Mrs. Rutherfurd had made an im- 
prudent match and married on about ninety 
pounds a year. Mr. Rutherfurd was a gentle- 
man born, the younger son of the Rutherfurds 
of High Riggs, a well-known Scotch family of 
distinction. Dreamy, enthusiastic, always build- 
ing improbable speculations as to what he would 
do if he had '' time to look about him," im- 
practical, unpunctual, a mere child in business 
matters, John Rutherfurd was totally unfittec^ 
to fight his way through a contest in whicl 
the weakest go to the wall. Both he and his 
wife having seriously displeased their relatives 
by their marriage, when impecunious times came 
both husband and wife vainly appealed to their 
people for assistance. Mrs. Rutherfurd^s sister 
had married a captain in the navy, called Salton, 
now appointed Inspecting Commander of Her 
Majesty^s Coastguard at Marshley-on-the- Wolds 



46 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

in L shire. Captain and Mrs. Salton were 

well off, but tlieir opinion was that !Mrs. Ruther- 
furd had chosen her lot, and now she must make 
the best of it. She had been deaf to good 
advice, and must reap the consequences. Mr. 
and Mrs. Rutherfurd found the consequences 
by no means pleasant. Love may have sufficed 
for all wants in a past age, but it certainly does 
not in this age of prosaic realities. At last, 
through the interest of a friend in Shanghai, a 
situation as clerk in a bank in that city was 
offered to Mr. Rutherfurd, which he was glad 
enough to accept; and accordingly, eighteen 
years before this little sketch begins, Mr. and 
Mrs. Rutherfurd went out to China. After a 
brief sojourn in Shanghai Mrs. Rutherfurd 
succumbed to the fever of the country, and a 
few months later Mr. Rutherfurd followed her 
to the grave, leaving little Thyrza a legacy to 
whomsoever would take charge of her. 

One of Mr. Rutherfurd^s friends, a young 
merchant, Luke Mark by name, goodnaturedly 
undertook the care of the child, and bringing 
her over to Europe, placed her on the recom- 
mendation of a clergyman, whose daughters Miss 
Holt had educated, at the pension of S. Sebas- 
tian the Martyr. But who provides the money 
defraying the expenses of her education, Thyrza 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 47 

does not know. A small sum has hitherto 
been paid regularly, and Miss Holt never fails 
to remind the girl that she especially ought to 
behave herself, and feel deeply grateful, for she 
has been taught and fed on next door to charity. 
Mr. Mark, occupied with his business and 
mercantile transactions in China, never wrote 
to her ; and Thyrza, on her part, did not trouble 
him with letters. The years and the seasons 
came and went : spring wore into summer ; June 
roses bloomed and faded ; autumn^s harvests 
were garnered, and winter^s cold winds returned, 
but no letters, and no relations ever visited the 
dull pension in the quaint town of Villios, where 
Thyrza spent her childish days. Other girls 
grew up and left school; they had their friends, 
their fathers and mothers, and sisters and 
brothers. Thyrza^s wistful dark eyes often filled 
with tears, and her face had a strange hungry 
look when she saw the happy family parties that 
assembled at the Christmas and Midsummer holi- 
days. The girls frequently invited her to pay them 
visits at their homes, but Miss Holt invariably ob- 
jected. How could Thyrza go gadding about out 
visiting when she had no clothes and no money 
to spare ? It was a likely thing that she (Miss 
Holt) could afford to give Thyrza railway tickets ! 
Did she not, as it was, keep her merely out of 



48 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

kindness because she was a waif and stray, of 
no consequence to any one ; a creature wlio^ if 
she died to-morrow, would never be missed 
from the world's stage ? Thyrza might be very 
thankful to have so good a home as the pension. 
What had she to complain of? Well^ when 
put down and classified on paper, perhaps not 
much, but to a warm-hearted girl like Thyi'za, 
life with Miss Holt is simply starvation. She 
is just at the age when sympathy and kindness 
are everything, and Miss Holt has about as much 
sympathy for the little whims and vanities of 
Thyrza as a piece of stone has for the lichen 
which covers it. " If I could but make money V 
she muses, as she sits in the apple-tree and 
watches a fat bumble-bee drowsily buzzing from 
a pink-scented chaliced flower to a carmine 
opening bud ; and the shadows of the bridge are 
reflected — massive piers and grotesque carvings — 
on the smooth, shining surface of the sleepy river, 
without a single quiver or ripple to mar the 
perfection of the duplicate. Below, a sharp- 
nosed water-rat sidles cautiously along among 
the tall-bladed grasses ; the scentless dog-violets 
and golden-marsh marigolds splash into the 
water ; then the bubbles burst ; the circles 
diverge, each one growing wider than the last, 
until they are stranded and wrecked upon an 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 49 

islet of water-lily leaves. The sun is westering 
towards the vineyard- covered mountains ; the 
spring twilight slowly creeps up_, and the flush 
of rosy brilliance fades out from the grey gables 
of the old pension, the many storied houses, 
and the warm rich red tones of the peaked, 
sloping roofs. The boys have left off Ashing; 
the eldest of them forms them into a regiment 
of soldiers, placing himself at their head; they 
shoulder the willow wands as rifles : 

" Aux armes : citoyens ! 
Formez vos bataillons. 
Marchez ! marchez ! qu'un sang impur 
Abreuve nos sillons," 

A strong-minded British female tourist, in- 
tent upon ^^ doing^" Villios, and getting the full 
value of her money, looks up from the immortal 
" Murray^^ in which she reads — " Villios built 
time of the Goths, &c.,^' to remonstrate with 
the blanchisseuses who are beating the linen 
violently with good sized stones. They pay no 
attention to her interference ; she resolves not 
to patronize the Villios washerwomen. 

How do other people make money, wonders 
Thyrza ; and what can she do towards obtaining 
her purpose. She is not clever and can do 
nothing particularly well. She is not even 
certain that she has a real talent for music. 

VOL. I. 4 



50 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Then she is by no means pretty, and has not 
pleasing manners, nor yet the taste and sense 
when to say and do the right thing. One may 
say the right tiling, but it is useless to do so 
ten minutes too late. The difficulty is to judge 
when is the exact moment. Thyrza sighs and 
comes to the conclusion she will "just have^^ to 
go on in the old groove for the remainder of 
her days, unless something very extraordinary 
happens such as occurred this morning. 

How rude the strange gentleman was ! He 
was not at all like a hero. To have made the 
adventure complete, he ought to have been 
nearly seven feet high, handsome as Apollo, 
gallant as Launcelot, chivalrous as King Arthur ; 
au contraire, he is of the ordinary height, has grey 
hair, and even in the palmy days of his youth 
could never by any possibility whatsoever have 
been called a fine looking man. • As to Thyrza, 
what a chance she has lost of distinguishing 
herself. "Time is, time was.'^ The golden 
opportunity has slipped from her. All she has 
done creditably was jumping out of the window. 
That did not take her an instant to accomplish. 
Suppose some kind uncle should conveniently 
depart this life, and leave to his dear niece and 
kinswoman, Thyrza Rutherfurd, his fortune and 
worldly goods ! Delicious idea ! what costumes 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 51 

and ravisHng toilettes would Tliyrza invest in ! 
•what gloves and boots ! No more of Miss 
Holt^s discarded dresses which never fitted her^ 
and made her look as though she had stufied the 
body of her gown with the table-cloth ! No 
more teaching, and mending, and hard words, 
and sour looks. She will give presents to Mr. 
Spindler and M. Paul, the barber, who, on a 
certain memorable occasion unknown to Miss 
Holt, took Thyrza to the theatre ; she will have 
a carriage and a pair of ponies, and go on a 
travelling expedition round the world. Most 
girls marry, she reflected; no one will marry 
her. She is not beautiful enough, so the fortune 
will compensate her for a lover — reasoning 
which wiser persons than Thyrza have arrived 
at, if the numerous appKcations for solatium in 
breach of promise cases may be taken as a criterion. 
And she will have — well, everyone builds castles 
in the air, not more substantial, and often about 
as probable of realization as Thyrza^s chateau en 
Espagne. But how sweet and pleasant are these 
dreams ! No annoyances ; no petty vexations ; 
no worrying trifles enter into their airy halls. 
We do not calculate for them. Lying under 
a wide- spreading beech tree, blowing a cloud on 
a summer day : — in that cozy armchair over the 
fire after some '48 Port ; — coming home after 

4—2 

LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 



52 BKOWN AS A BERRY. 

that splendid spin with the hounds ; rocking 
lazily as a sunlit sea at the bottom of the 
boat, with that companion of our joys and 
troubles, the sharer in our triumphs and down- 
falls — our pipe, we build charming fabrics of 
what we will do when we get that money, that 
living, that '' step,''"' that appointment. After 
all, if it came true, would the reality be half as 
fair as our pictured vision ? Does anything 
ever come up to our expectations ? When 
the desire of our soul is granted unto us, we 
often find it valueless. What we thought a 
precious stone lying among the green fern 
fronds and veronicas is only a piece of common 
glass, not worth the exertion of stooping to 
pick up ; the gold we fancied we had found 
is dross ; what we bartered our honour and 
truth away for, rewards us with perfidy; the 
fruit that tempts us with its soft luscious ex- 
terior is full of bitterness. The most brilliant 
and perfect creations of brush or pen fall 
far short of that still more beautiful original 
in the artistes brain, which not embodied in 
the concrete is probably invested in proportion 
with superior charms. 

There is the half-hour striking from the church 
tower, whose pinnacles " prick" the evening sky. 
Thyrza ought to have been in the school-room 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 53 

long ago. She looks out of the apple branches, 
and, to her horror, sees Miss Holt walking 
straight down to her pet tree. Adieu vache 
veau ! We know how poor Alnaschar mourned 
over the destruction of his future hopes, in the 
City of Roses. Thyrza hastily gathers up the 
skirt of the canary- coloured dress, spotted thickly 
with large black dots the size of a half-crown 
piece, and prepares for war. With ordinary 
good fortune. Miss Holt ought not to discover 
Thyrza^s vicinity; but, as ill-luck will have it, 
part of the canary skirt flutters into view. The 
Byron Thyrza has abstracted from Miss Holt^s 
shelves falls precipitately on to the ground, and 
a peal of girlish laughter is heard apparently 
from the depths of the tree. What will Miss 
Holt say to the Byron ? Thyrza has been told 
on no consideration to read it, and of course 
has experienced the greatest wish, like Eve, to 
see what it is like, and why it is wicked. Further 
concealment is useless. 

^' Thyrza ! I am astonished at your behaviour I 
You are too old now for these tomboy tricks/^ 

A beaming brown face appears from among 
clusters of shell-tinted white, perfumed apple- 
blossoms, fresh and bright as the flowers them- 
selves, and bubbling over with irrepressible 
merriment. 



54 BROWN AS A BEREY. 

'^ Do you want me, Miss Holt ?" she inquires, 
meekly, aware slie is overdue for her duties in 
the school-room by three-quarters of an hour. 

" Oh, Thyrza V shaking her head slowly and 
mournfully, " you will come to no good if you 
go on in this way ! A young woman at your 
time of life, who has no fortune to look to, ought 
to prepare herself for all emergencies. What 
will become of you T' 

'^ Don^t know, and don^t care.-^' 

'^ Don't care was hanged,^^ says Miss Holt. 

"Then they can^t hang him again,^'' returns 
Thyrza. "If the worst comes to the worst, 
why, I will sweep a crossing, or perhaps come 
out as a coryphee," hoping this will shock Miss 
Holt, in which aspiration her wishes succeed. 
Miss Holt is horrified. She turns up the whites 
of her eyes towards the setting sun in a pious 
manner, and sighs profoundly. Evidently much 
consoled by this exhibition of her religious feel- 
ings, she renews the point with Thyrza, who is 
forced to spring down from her refuge. She 
descends with merely the accident of tearing 
some folds of the dreadful canary garment from 
the gathers. At this mishap she involuntarily 
gives a prolonged whistle ; she is fully cognizant 
of the fact this is a shockingly unladylike, im- 
proper, and most reprehensible habit — an accom- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 55 

plishment not heard of in Miss Holt^s young 
days — and, in general, it has the effect upon that 
lady which shaking a red rag has upon a bull. 
She looks grave ; Thyrza's sins and offences are 
great. She is too old now to be shut up in a 
dark room all day, with the invigorating diet of 
bread and water as a consolation, in which 
manner some dreary hours of her childhood 
have been passed. With commendable presence 
of mind Thyrza picks up the Byron, very nearly 
indulging in a farewell whistle, but checking 
herself in time, she stands still to hear what 
Miss Holt has got to say. 

Miss Holt has watched the descent of her junior 
English teacher from the tree with suppressed im- 
patience. Spare, neat, angular, lynx-eyed, she is 
the terror of the pension domestics, of the Villios 
tradespeople, and of the gardener especially, who 
at this moment is leaning on his spade, not even 
attempting to work, as she would have remarked 
if she had spoken her thoughts aloud. If Miss 
Holt could have had her own way, and arranged 
the world according to her ideas, the flowers 
should have toiled and spun for their bright 
robes, and the birds have done something for 
their living besides making the earth glad with 
their songs. Being so industrious herself, the 
dolce far niente is to her an unutterable abomina- 



56 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

tion; people who are delicate, or possessed of 
nerves, she does not believe in, setting them 
down as humbugs. On her looking at the 
gardener, he thinks it advisable to make a show 
of working, and towards executing this object 
inserts his spade into the ground in a languid 
manner, which causes Miss Holt to long to give 
him a good shaking on the spot. 

" I have got a letter for you, Thyrza.^' 

"A letter for me!" exclaims Thyrza, "wonders 

will never cease,^^ as Miss Holt hands her an 

epistle, duly addressed to " Miss Thyrza Ruther- 

furd, care of Miss Holt, Pension de S. Sebastian 

the Martyr, Departement , France/^ Miss 

Holt has opened it, and made herself acquainted 
with the contents, which are to this effect : — 

LiLLiESHiLL, May 17th, 1872. 

'^ Dear Miss E-utherfurd, — As I imagine 
you must now be verging upon that important 
period when young ladies leave school, I have 
been thinking about what is to be done re- 
garding your future. I came home from China 
via San Francisco and New York, that being 
a more convenient way than the other round 
by the Suez Canal, or I should have taken a 
look at Paris and come on to see you, and the 
good lady who has been so kind to you. Since 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 57 

my arrival at Lilliesliill I have written to several 
of your relation Sj as they are your natural 
protectors,, but they tell me they have as much 
as they can do to bring up their own families ; 
of course I can have no idea about your capabi- 
lities or what plans you may have formed for 
yourself; however^ I may mention a friend of 
mine in the neighbourhood of Lillieshill is in 
want of a governess for her children. She is 
an extremely amiable woman, and at any rate 
you would have a good comfortable home. 
Whether you decide upon accepting the situa- 
tion or not, I shall be glad to see you ; and my 
uncle and aunt, Mr. and Miss Lefroy, with 
whom I am staying for the present, hope you 
will come and spend two or three weeks with 
us. I am not sure if I have ever told you 
so before, but I am not your guardiau, although 
I have in a measure virtually acted that part. 
I knew your poor father well, and should be 
happy for his sake to see his daughter advan- 
tageously settled in life. I have written to 
Miss Holt, enclosing a cheque for the last six 
months of your education, &c., and also an- 
other for your journey money : should there be 
more than you require spend it on any trifle 
you may fancy. I shall be going up to town 
within a fort nighty and hope therefore that you 



58 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

will start as soon (if possible) as you receive 
this note. With kind regards^ and hoping you 
will manage your travels in safety. I have 
given Miss Holt full particulars on the subject, 
which I have no doubt she will explain to you. 
" Believe me, yours truly, 

^' Luke Mark. 

^' P.S. — Address, Lillieshill, near Queensmuir, 
Kilniddry shire, Scotland. I see I forgot to write 
the full address at the beginning of my letter, 
so to prevent mistakes give it now.^^ 

" I don't want to go,'*^ says Thyrza, with the 
natural perversity of human nature; now the 
object of her longings is within her grasp, it 
suddenly loses its piquant flavour, till at once 
the pension becomes dear to her. Miss Holt 
seems her best friend; the verj pile of linen 
waiting in the school-room for her unwilling 
fingers to darn the wide and frequent rents and 
thin places is invested with a fresh light. They 
are all old familiar acquaintances ; through force 
of habit she has become accustomed to them, 
and they to her — one cannot say attached, for 
it would be difficult for Miss Holt to inspire auy 
one with affection; she is hard and dry, and 
never called human being darling in the fifty 
odd years that have elapsed since Maria Holt 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 59 

first saw tlie light. A loug series of disappoint- 
ments will wear creases in the softest and 
sweetest disposition. 

"DonH be ridiculous,, Thyrza/^ answers Miss 
Holt, testily. ^^ You will have to go. Mr. 
Mark has paid for your school expenses himself. 
Now he is tired of doing so, and consequently 
wishes you to work for yourself.^' 

'^I wonder if he would let me go to Stuttgardt/^ 
says Thyrza, in a meditative voice. 

" Nonsense ! Who is to support you while 
you are studying ? Come into the house at 
once, and I will get you a box, and help you 
to pack. It is a pity I must lose you. I shall 
not be so well suited again.^^ 

Miss Holt is quite right. It will be some 
time before she obtains such a convenient 
pupil as Thyrza ; one whose money she can 
pocket, and no awkward questions be asked. 
They enter the school-room, where a busy 
murmur of voices is heard from the girls learning 
their lessons for the following day. In the 
next room a small child is practising the minor 
scale of A. She plays the notes irregularly. 
They come in scrambling like a flock of sheep. 
In another apartment some one is studying 
Gounod's march from Faust, and a third a 
lively Scotch air; all three sounds, the doleful 



60 BROWN AS A BEERY. 



scale of A minor ; the soldier's cliorus ; the 
light tunes, jar and jangle with each other. 
There is the chair Thyrza ought to have occu- 
pied, and the big clothes' basket with its freight 
ready to be repaired. Mademoiselle Lambert, 
an elderly person with a long nose, black eyes, 
very thin hair much covered with pomade, and 
an erection of red silk on the top of her head, 
has supplied her place. She is devouring a 
novel called " Georgine," and says warningly, 
" S-sh ! Marie, vous ne faites rien'' as Miss 
Holt and Thyrza pass through the school-room. 

"Would not YOU like to return to me, 
Thyrza, after your visit to Scotland V asks 
Miss Holt, who has been pondering deeply how 
inconvenient it is to part with Thyrza, and 
wondering when she will be able again to pick 
up so cheap a bargain. 

" No, thank you. Miss Holt,'' answers 
Thyrza, firmly. Her momentary regret has passed 
away into a sensation of joy and delight at 
the prospect of release from the prison-house 
of the pension, and glowing expectations of what 
will happen out in the world, of which she 
knows so little, and paints to herself in such 
brilliant colours. 



CHAPTER III. 



OING away, Thyrza ? What will be- 
come of me without my best pupil ?" 
laments Mr. Spindler. 

He is standing at the door of the Flying 
Dragon, whither the diligence in which Thyrza 
is seated has returned from the pension in order 
to pick up Madame Dawson^s luggage. Madame 
Dawson is the lady with the green satin dress 
and ruby velvet bonnet whom Thyrza watched 
arrive the morning before, from Trois d^Or. She 
came for the purpose of installing two of her 
children under Miss Holt^s fostering care, and 
to-day she is going to travel as far as Paris. 
To-morrow she goes to Calais, and will cross 
from thence to Dover. She intends making 
some stay in London. Miss Holt has asked 
that Thyrza may accompany her to London, 
where she is to spend a night, starting for Scot- 
land from King's Cross by the 10 a.m. train the 



62 BROWN AS A BEERY. 

following morning. As yet Thyrza has not 
been introduced to Madame Dawson; but the 
pleasure is not to be much longer postponed^ for 
she sees the green folds of a satin dress^, rustling 
down the passage where yesterday she followed 
Mr. Ferrier into the billiard-room. 

" Oh, you will soon get another pupil/^ says 
Thyrza. 

" Not one like you ; so good_, so attentive/^ 
he sighed. 

'^^And who is so fond of her darling old 
master/^ smiles Thyrza. " I am so sorry to 
leave you, Mr. Spindler. You have always been 
very kind to me.^' 

^^Thou wilt write, Thyrza, and tell me how 
thou gettest on when far away from Villios? 
Once I go to Edinburgh to see a friend whom 
I first knew in Stuttgardt. We studied together 
at the Conservatorium, and he was Kapel-Meister 
for two years to the king. But jealousy came, 
and his enemies made poor Louis leave Stuttgardt 
and go to Scotland. On week days it was all 
very well in Edinburgh, but on the Sundays 
it was too awful ! After I had been to my 
chapel, I had nothing to do. If you play 
the piano on the Sunday you will have a whole 
crowd round the house. Ach ! I live de oder 
days, but on the Sundays I only wegetate P^ 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 63 

" We may as -well say good-bye now/^ says 
Miss Holt j " it will soon be time for you to 
give Mademoiselle Tbibault her lesson/^ 

" Lebewohl^ Tbyrza/^ says Mr. Spindler, 
lapsing, according to Ms wont wben carried away 
by bis feelings, into bis beloved harmonious 
German, " take care of thyself and forget not 
the old man^^ (shaking hands heartily). "When 
I publish my etude on Scotch airs, it shall be 
dedicated to thee, Rosleinroth.''' 

" Good-bye, Mr. Spindler. I will practise 
the sonatas regularly, and will only get some of 
Ascher^s music as a treat to refresh me," answers 
Thyrza, warmly. Mr. Spindler does not much 
approve of Ascher ; brilliant and dashing without 
solidity or thoroughness, is his opinion of that 
composer's writings. 

He moves a step forward and shakes his head 
in deprecation of Thyrza's pretended preference 
(she has only said so to teaze him) of Ascher's 
music over the sublime works of Mozart, Haydn, 
Beethoven, and Handel. 

" Lebewohl, Thyrza V' he repeats, tenderly and 
reluctantly. Dear old Mr. Spindler, who has 
initiated Thyrza into the mysteries and art of 
music, from reading her notes and the five-finger 
exercise to the " Moonlight Sonata" and Sachs's 
Passion music, she would give him a kiss were 



64 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

not Miss Holt and Mr. Ferrier standing on the 
doorsteps looking at her. She does not mind 
Miss Holt in the least ; to her she has shaken 
off all allegiance and obedience^ and is free as 
air or the wave on the sea, and can no longer be 
called to account for bad behaviour. But when 
she reaches down to where short, fat Mr. 
Spindler stands, sadness depicted on his face, 
a large snuff-box in his hand, a ray of sunshine 
sloping through the tiny slit of blue heaven 
visible between the red roofs of the high storied 
houses touching his venerable head with silver, 
she catches a look of extreme amusement in 
Mr. Ferrier^s grey eyes. She draws hastily 
back into the diligence ; Mr. Ferrier is smoking 
a cigar, a cloud of smoke goes curling up into 
the air by the vermilion and gold sign of the 
Flying Dragon. At his side is the little 
Italian, his head bound up across his brow, 
but otherwise looking the picture of mirth 
and health. The guinea-pig is adorned with 
a collar and small chain now ; a safer arrange- 
ment than that of allowing it to be at liberty. 

Mr. Spindler would fain say more, but as he 
begins to speak, Madame Dawson, closely veiled, 
sails out under the porch, and Miss Holt 
approaching to effect the introduction, he is 
almost demolished and swept away by the tide 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 65 

of wide^ flowing petticoats and insubordinate 
crinolines. 

Miss Holt kisses Thyrza for the first and the 
last time since she has dwelt within the walls of 
S. Sebastian the Martyr. After all, she will 
miss the girl with her picturesque face, her 
gentle manners, and untidy ways; the pension 
will not seem itself for a few days without 
Thyrza, who has been so long a tenant of its 
dark, sombre rooms. Perhaps, too, the recol- 
lection of sundry meannesses practised on the 
unsuspecting child occurs to her mind reproach- 
fully. It is very inconvenient too for the junior 
English teacher to take her departure so much 
before the holidays begin. However, one cannot 
always regulate these little contretemps to one^s 
liking, and, on the whole, Miss Holt has made 
an extremely good thing out of Thyrza. 

Madame Dawson is successfully launched into 
the diligence, and expresses her happiness at 
making Thyrza^s acquaintance. 

Mr. Spindler once more attempts to speak, 
but Miss Holt promptly interferes, and he re- 
tires, muttering to himself in German under his 
breath. The door is closed now and the rickety 
vehicle is about to start, when Mr. Terrier flings 
away the remains of his cigar, and running up to 
the diligence, places one foot on the step that 

VOL. I. 5 



66 BEOWN AS A BERRY. 

assists you to climb up, and gives Thyrza a 
beautiful Gloire de Dijon rose. It is only the 
middle of May, so it must have been forced in a 
hothouse. Madame Dawson clearly thinks it is 
intended for her, and wishes to take it from 
Thyrza, but Mr. Ferrier says distinctly, " C^est 
pour Mademoiselle Thyrza,^^ continuing more 
fluently in English, " I regret it is such a 
poor flower. Keep it in remembrance — shall 
I say of a disagreeable man?'' 

" Thanks, Monsieur,^'' returns Thyrza, lighting 
up with a smile that displays two rows of pearly 
white teeth. 

The driver cracks his whip, the wretched 
horses move, and in another moment Thyrza is 
driving at a jog-trot through Villios. A few 
minutes more and she will leave the old- 
fashioned town and ail its historic associations 
behind. It is an ancient town, which carries one 
back to the splendour and chivalry of a past 
century, when brilliant cavalcades rode through 
the narrow streets ; when courtiers placed all 
their fortunes in ropes of pearls and jewels on 
their clothes ; when the king was secure on his 
throne, feasting in mar])le palaces, and the pea- 
sants died by scores in misery, after lives of 
abject toil and poverty. A town with a thousand 
memories, and a great solemn cathedral still 



BROWN AS A BEREY. 67 

consecrated by the fervent prayers breathed out 
on its chequered stone pavements by pious souls 
in times gone past ; a grey town, with dried up 
moats round its massive ramparts filled with 
cherry trees — at present one cloud of scented 
snow; a peaceful town, with a broad, sleepy, 
apple-orchard bordered river, beyond which comes 
a rich, fertile, corn-growing country ; a land 
indeed flowing with milk and honey, and girt 
in and bounded by a low range of vineyard- 
clothed hills. 

Mr. Ferrier has gone into the billiard-room in 
the hotel; but Mr. Spindler and M. Paul, the 
Villios barber and coiffeur par excellence, watch 
the diligence until a turn of the street hides 
both them and the Flying Dragon, from sight. 
As the diligence whisks round the sharp corner, 
Thyrza waves her handkerchief; whether Mr. 
Spindler sees it or not she cannot tell. 

It is market day. The travellers pass many 
carts containing butter, and cheese, and milk, 
and spring vegetables of various kinds. Jogging 
along the dusty roads with their patient beasts of 
burden, are sev^eral peasants who sometimes stop 
at a rain-begrimed weather-beaten stone fountain, 
surmounted by a figure of the Madonna and Child, 
to refresh their thirsty animals. Villios and its pink 
and white apple orchards, its large river, good Mr. 

5—2 



68 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Spindler and the pension where Thyrza has 
passed twelve years of her existence, dwindle and 
lessen in the distance. 

Madame Dawson complains of a migraine, 
declares the odour of a huge bouquet of flowers, 
a gift to Thyrza from some of her school friends, 
is etouffante. She has the windows first opened 
and then shut ; she deluges herself with eau-de- 
Cologne and Jockey Club, and is altogether rest- 
less and uncomfortable. At Trois d'Or several 
passengers alight, leaving only a commis-voyageur 
and two soldiers in the conveyance with Madame 
and Thyrza. The soldiers discuss the late war 
and abuse ces cochons des Prussiejis. The 
commis-voyageur explains his belief that if he 
had been at the head of afi'airs things would 
have been very difi'erent. Why did not Bazaine 
make a sortie from Metz ? But the generals 
conspired among themselves to sell France to 
the enemy, and they ought all to have been 
shot for their treachery. Marshal Macmahon 
was the only patriot among them. As for the 
Man of Sedan, nothing could excuse his conduct 
or exonerate him from the charge of the blackest 
ingratitude to France, who had made his fortune 
and raised him from obscurity. The soldiers do 
not agree. They blame the generals also; but 
they are unanimous in asserting, that the Emperor 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 69 

was deceived by his ministers regarding the state 
of the army. 

While changing horses at Trois d'Or, they go 
into the hotel to partake of coffee with a dash of 
brandy in it. There is no railway either to 
Villios or Trois d^Or, so the diligence proceeds 
to Rouge ville, from whence there is a direct line 
to Paris. The soldiers and commis-voyageur 
return to resume their argument ; under cover of 
the sound of their voices^ Madame waxes con- 
fidential, and tells Thyrza her history. As far 
as can be seen through the black veil, she is a 
very handsome woman with bright yellow hair, 
pretty nearly the colour of Thyrza^s obnoxious and 
detested canary gown now safely stowed away at 
the very bottom of her box. By birth she is an 
Andalusian. Her husband was a poor English 
artist, who had nothing but his pencil on which 
to depend for bread and cheese. He came to a 
small village in Andalusia on a holiday expedi- 
tion, seeking subjects for an academy picture. 
Madame was the belle of the village. She sat 
to Mr. Dawson in various characters as model. 
Mr. Dawson fell in lo'^^e. Being under the im- 
pression she would be taken to rich England and 
live on the fat of the land, Madame thought she 
would try the experiment. It was preferable to 
marrying poor Carlos, the muleteer. But what 



70 BROWN AS A BEREY. 

eyes Carlos had ! and what a devoted heart ! 
So Madame and Mr. Dawson went to the little 
church of San Juan, on the hillside near the 
village^ and were married. And Carlos became 
a brigand, and was shot while pillaging an 
English milord. A bad ending ! — not at all. 
Far more poetical than if he had borne his 
reverse with fortitude, and eventually married 
ViolantC; the wealthy olive merchant's daughter, 
who would have given her fingers for him. 
However, Madame had reckoned her chickens 
before they were hatched, and Mr. Augustus 
Dawson and she lived in cheap lodgings in a 
part of Paris generally known as the Qu artier 
Latin, the favourite residence of artists, stu- 
dents, and literary people of a Bohemian taste. 
Madame evidently disliked that portion of her 
life. It was not what she had expected, and 
was slower than the Andalusian village where 
she danced boleros with Carlos, and broke the 
hearts of half the youog fellows in the neigh- 
bourhood. She thought that with her personal 
advantages she ought to have made a better 
match than " pauvre Auguste/' who had blindly 
adored her. 

" I wanted to go to the theatre and amuse 
myself when he was busy working — it was always 
work, work with him — but he would never let 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 71 

me" mourns Madame. During the past year 
he overworked himself over a large picture in- 
tended for the English Academy^ and before it 
was hung his health gave way completely, and 
he died. The very day of his death news came 
from England that an old aunt_, who during her 
lifetime had steadily refused him assistance, had 
gone to that bourne whence no traveller — in spite 
of what Home and the spiritualists may urge to 
the contrary — has been known, at least in modern 
times, to return, leaving him nearly a hundred 
thousand pounds. The good fortune came too 
late. A little of that wealth a few months earlier 
might have saved him ; but the man was dying, 
the sands of life were fast running out. He was 
just able to scrawl a few words and sign his 
name, willing all his property away to his " be- 
loved Preciosa,^^ when he died. 

" And he is buried in Pere la Chaise,^^ con- 
tinues Madame, cheerfully, " in what Auguste 
used to call a ' nice snog ' spot.''"' 

" Shall you go and see his grave when we 
pass through Paris ?^' asks Thyrza, with respect 
for Madame^s sorrow. 

" Ah ! no,^^ says Madame, fanning herself 
languidly and glancing with complacence on the 
superb diamond and ruby bracelets she had 
bought with " pauvre Auguste's^'' money. " Ah ! 



72 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

no. It makes me so triste. It can do Au^ste 
no good. I do not like the tristesse ! It gives 
me a migraine. And many migraines spoil the 
complexion \" 

After this Madame Dawson goes off com- 
fortably to sleep, nodding up and down as the 
unwieldy lumbering diligence slips from one rut 
into another. While Thyrza, left to her own 
reflections^ gazes dreamily at the fields of young 
growing wheat and maize; the chapels and 
hamlets ; the wayside crosses and images of the 
Madonna ; here and there a small plantation of 
trees ; the pointed extinguisher towers of a 
nobieman^s chateau^ which seem to flit by in 
the eight miles that divide Trois d^Or from 
Rougeville. The presence of a large and flou- 
rishing manufacturing town is denoted by the 
increasing number of houses of importance, and 
by the dense smoke rising high above the tall 
brick chimneys,, and resting like a pillar of cloud 
over the city. 

At the station Madame is awakened from 
her slumbers by the halting of the diligence. 
Thyrza and she gather together her numerous 
maps and divers reticules, scent-bottles, novels, 
&c., for beguiling the tedium of the journey, and 
almost immediately afterwards they are added to 
the number of caged individuals in the waiting- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 73 

room, where several distracted and irritated 
Britons, withheld from the privilege of parading 
up and down the platform, are becoming furious, 
threatening complaints to the heads of the police 
and the managers of the railway company. 

Madame^s appearance creates quite a sensation, 
which apparently is rather gratifying to her 
than otherwise. For she takes it all very quietly, 
settles herself at once into a more becoming 
attitude than she troubled herself to assume 
when left in the diligence with only Thyrza and 
the soldiers as spectators ; arranges the strings 
of the minute velvet gipsy bonnet under her soft 
white chin ; runs her fingers, covered with 
jewels, through the meshes of her exceedingly 
golden locks ; shakes the folds of her dress so as 
to display the point of a bronze kid boot, and 
swings slowly backwards and forwards a large 
black Spanish fan. 

The men put up their eyeglasses and stare : 
the women stare too, study the cut of Madame^s 
apparel, which is certainly perfection : the dress 
which shows through a transparent Chant illy 
lace shawl, thrown carelessly back, fitting 
like a second skin to the magnificently deve- 
loped bust and grandly proportioned neck and 
shoulders ; and then they draw away their petti- 
coats from contact with Madame^s skirt. 



74 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Madame sees it well enough. She endeavours 
to remove the thick black Shetland veil she has 
hitherto worn, which has concealed her features 
completely, making it an impossibility to know 
whether the mask hides a face hideous as the 
veiled prophet^s, or one rivalling the Venus de^ 
Medici in beauty. 

" Will Mademoiselle Thyrza help me to un- 
fasten this V she asks, after attempting in vain 
to untie the knot with her left hand, on the 
wedding finger of which she wears the correct 
plain gold ring, and above, a keeper of dia- 
monds. 

One of the waiting-room windows looks out 
upon a sort of country, and at the back of the 
station. In this, six workmen are having their 
dinner, on a rude table, constructed out of a plank 
of wood resting on two unequal sticks, not very 
securely fixed in the ground. Their meal con- 
sists of huge chunks of brown, nearly black 
bread ; raw turnips, carrots, and cheese, washed 
down by draughts of weak cold tea. They are 
all of them fine, well grown specimens of men ; 
tall, broad shouldered, lengthy of limb, brawny 
of muscle ; their arms, bared above the elbow, 
are white as a woman^s, and the blue veins 
and muscles stand out like whipcord. They 
have come from near the Black Forest to seek 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 75 

employment, and are natives of the Harz Moun- 
tains. Thyrza, sitting near the window, cannot 
help observing them ; she moves out of sight ; 
then comes back to see if they are still there ; 
moves again ; returns ; meets their eyes ; at this 
game of Bo-peep they laugh, and Thyrza, smil- 
ing also, goes towards Madame Dawson. 

Accordingly, after some little difficulty, she 
unties the knot : Madame murmurs her thanks; 
folding the veil, she places it in her reticule, 
and turns on Thyrza the loveliest countenance 
she ever beheld. Features cut like those of a 
Greek statue : dazzling white skin with a soft 
peach bloom upon it : a mouth like an Apollo^s 
bow ; eyes of the hue of blue cornflowers or 
sapphires, whichever simile you may prefer, and 
yellow hair of a profusion and brightness which 
seems as though it must certainly owe more to 
art than nature. 

The women are stagnated at Madame's assu- 
rance, and retire as far as is possible, without 
being markedly uncivil, but Madame does not 
care. She has the admiration and attention of 
every man in the room concentrated upon her, 
and she can afibrd to despise the unfeigned 
dislike and opprobrium of her own sex. Besides, 
what is the admiration of a score of womeu^, 
compared with the compliments of even one 



76 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

man? Thyrza envies Madame her sangfroid 
and nonchalance. How charmingly she would 
have played the part of heroine yesterday, in 
which Thyrza failed so lamentably. Madame 
would not have been gauche and stupid : she 
would have had some jeu d'esprit with which to 
extinguish Mr. Ferrier, when he made such rude 
remarks. The door being thrown open, puts an 
end to the little silent pantomime, and there 
is an universal rush for seats. One of the 
Englishmen who has stormed so violently con- 
cerning his forced detention in the waiting-room, 
a big blonde man who, like the gentleman in 
Punch has ^' grown through his hair,^' occu- 
pies one corner of Madame^s coupe. He has 
a handsome, rather baby-face, with not much 
expression in his countenance, and enters into 
conversation with Madame, whose beauty has 
made a deep impression upon him. He speaks 
French as well as Madame does English ; but 
presently Madame begins talking in the latter 
language. No one takes the slightest notice of 
Thyrza, of which she is not sorry; for it is a 
sight in itself to witness Madame's gestures : her 
exact knowledge of the way she shows to most 
advantage ; leaning her head on one hand with 
the black fan half closed, as a set-off to the 
delicate contour of her regular profile and Titian- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 77 

like colouring : then looking round suddenly, 
with a smile that parts the half-pouting scarlet 
lips just enough and no more. 

What would Mr. Ferrier have thought of 
her, reflects Thyrza. To be sure, he would 
have admired her. To a person of his rough 
blunt exterior, her voluptuous style would be 
especially captivating. How odd of him to 
have given her the rose ! He did not seem a 
pleasant man ; yet he was very kind and gentle 
with the small Italian, and no woman^s hands 
could have gone to work more softly or carefully 
than did his. 

Madame chatters and laughs, eats bonbons 
from a tiny box embroidered with gold and set 
with turquoises. The Englishman pulls his long 
blonde beard when invention fails him, as it does 
every quarter of an hour. For a brilliant re- 
mark he says, " Haw, aw ; just so,^^ and twirls 
the ends of his moustache. 

In the course of the evening they reach Paris, 
Madame^s friend repairs to the Salle des Bagages, 
and after a struggle with the commissionnaires, 
secures a fiacre for her, and, radiant with suc- 
cess, announces that her luggage, including 
Thyrza^s one box, is safely upon it. He in- 
quires if there is anything further he can do for 
her, also where she is going to stay for the 



78 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

niglit. She gives Mm the address and laugh- 
ingly bids him adieu. Thyrza cannot help 
speculating upon Miss Holt's probable remarks, 
could she behold Madame Dawson's free and 
easy manners. 

It is eight o'clock in the evening. Crowds of 
people are sauntering in the streets and on the 
Boulevards, enjoying the cool air after the 
warmth and business of the day ; crowds of 
people sit sipping coffee and smoking cigars 
outside the cafes ; crowds of carriages, omnibuses, 
every description of vehicle, cross and recross 
in every direction. 

Madame Dawson directs the driver of the 
fiacre to an hotel, and after having some supper, 
Thyrza goes to bed and is soon fast asleep, too 
tired to dream of any of the sights she has seen 
since the morning. 

The steamer — '' warranted Al, fast sailing, 
fitted up with every luxury and accommodation 
for the passengers " — which in much the above 
terms is advertised to cross the Channel from 
Calais to Dover, is nearly ready to start from 
the first- mentioned place. 

Madame Dawson and Thyrza have trium- 
phantly finished with the Custom House officers, 
who have found no contraband goods in either 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 79 

of their trunks^ and they have now gone on deck, 
from whence they look on at the animated scene 
around them. It is not a bad study for those 
in search of character. Numbers of half-pay 
officers, persons who^ owing to " circumstances 
over which they have no control/^ are obliged to 
reside abroad, seedy individuals who live by 
their wits, flash men who make money on the 
principle of the celebrated apophthegm, " Surely 
those with plenty of money and no brains was 
made for them with plenty brains and no 
money ,^^ lounge lazily on the quay, bent on 
nothing in particular, having merely come down 
out of curiosity to read the morning paper or 
watch the boat go off. Piles of luggage are 
being hauled on board, cabs heavily laden drive 
frantically up at the last moment, containing 
elderly ladies with lap-dogs and bandboxes, 
who speedily become a prey to extortionate 
porters. Patient paterfamilias, who has been 
taking his wife and family abroad on a small 
trip, stands, spectacles on nose, counting over 
dozens of packages, without which his woman- 
kind insisted life and the table d^hote would 
have been a howling wilderness and desert unto 
them. A young artist, tall, pale, and dark, with 
eyes of true southern splendour, very baggy 
clothes and a slouch hat^ in which he looks an 



80 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

embryo brigand, watches a couple of frizzy- 
haired girls, who are swearing vows of eternal 
fidelity, to be broken within a month. A Bel- 
gian family — four brothers, all short, all fat, and 
all wearing long chevelure and spectacles, ac- 
companied by their two sisters — take possession 
of a seat near Madame and Thyrza. They are 
going to ''do^^ Scotland; are got up in flaring 
tartan, have a notion that nothing is drunk in 
Scotland but whisky, nothing eaten but oatcakes 
and sheepshead, and haggis. They speak Eng- 
lish imperfectly, and their invariable remark 
upon the surrounding scenery, pronounced slowly 
and with a slight lisp, is, " Very beautiful/' An 
elderly lady, with a troop of small children like 
so many steps, comes up the companion-ladder 
on to the deck, in the. most remote nook of 
which two lovers are evidently saying what is to 
be a long farewell. They are far too much 
occupied with each other to care what people 
are thinking about them. A gentleman, in a 
light grey overcoat and grey wide-awake hat, 
after lingering on the quay to hear the result 
of the races, saunters leisurely past Thyrza. 
Madame Dawson has hurriedly resumed her veil 
and gone down abruptly to the ladies' cabin, 
leaving Thyrza alone. Very solitary she looks, 
sitting by herself, her long dark hair hanging in 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 81 

thick tresses below her waist, a sort of dreamy 
hunted expression in the soft hazel eyes. She 
has on an old plaid cloak that has done duty as 
a wrap for Miss Holt during wet weather for 
the last dozen years ; originally it was a "Royal 
Stuart tartan, but the tints are faded and re- 
duced to a wholly indescribable neutral hue, and 
the texture is worn and threadbare. Thyrza is 
aware of something queer about the brown straw 
hat, of a shape quite out of fashion, and a difife- 
rence in the make and tout ensemble of her ap- 
parel, from that of the be- flounced, be- trimmed, 
be-frilled young girls on board. The cotton 
gloves that she only wears on Sundays when 
going to church at Villios, have been darned 
several times at the tips ; and the strong, thick 
boots, made by a shoemaker accustomed to the 
construction of sabots for the peasantry in Vil- 
lios, are admirably adapted for the stiff clay 
roads in that neighbournood, which after a 
shower of rain are transmogrified into mud, 
ankle deep, but not very well fitted for the 
respectable, civilized society in which she now 
finds herself. 

Mr. Terrier contemplates Thyrza's little lonely 
figure ; there appears no one to speak to, or take 
any interest in her; and, finally, he advances 
towards her. 

VOL. I. 6 



82 BROWN AS A BERRX". 

" Same old story everywhere, Mademoiselle 
Thyrza V^ he says, after he has related his ex- 
perience of Yillios. 

^' How, Monsieur ?' ' 

" The old, old story, as sentimental people 
call it, of spoonifying and humbugging and making 
love. Look at that interesting pair who have 
just come on board ; they are returning after 
the treacle moon. The man looks as if he has 
had enough of it. I know I should too with 
her. I should not think that beyond dress and 
millinery she had two ideas in her head.'^ 

^' Oh, I thought she was so pretty ! and her 
dress is such a charming shade of blue,^'' looking 
at her own dingy grey linen. 

" Pretty doll, I grant joxx" continues Mr. 
Terrier, glancing Thyrza slowly over from the 
crown of her brown straw hat until his eyes fix 
themselves on a patch that the local shoemaker 
has placed conspicuously on the very front of 
her boot. She tucks it out of sight as well as 
she can under her short dress, which she begins 
to think, though convenient for the purpose of 
climbing the apple-tree at the pension, or 
scrambling up the broken-down wall between 
Miss Holt's garden and her friend^ M. Joachim, 
the wine merchant next door, might advan- 
tageously be a little longer. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 83 

" She is pretty now, with the deviFs own 
beauty — youth. But by the time she is forty, 
what an inane fool she will be ! Poor fellow ! 
Her husband will have a hard time of it. If he 
omits saying something sweet, she will be in a bad 
temper — pouting and weeping. I hate a crying 
woman. But after one has got to ^ darling ' and 
' angel,' what can a fellow say ? The height of 
adoration can go no further. There should be a 
new dictionary of fresh terms invented for the 
benefit of unfortunates undergoing the honey- 
moon, for it comes uncommon hard lines on a 
fellow to be in a continual state of invention. 
It would wear me out.^^ 

" The object of your pity looks as if he would 
manage to survive very well. I should not 
think he is much troubled with brains or imagi- 
nation. We travelled with him yesterday from 
Rougeville to Paris/^ replies Thyrza, laughing at 
the recollection of the broad and open com- 
pliments Mr. Harris paid Madame Dawson. 
Young Mrs. Harris, if she knew it, would pro- 
bably hardly smile so sweetly on her handsome, 
prosperous husband. " But where can Madame 
have gone?^^ 

'' The tall stout person in the green gown 1'* 

'* Yes. I am going with her to London. 8 he 
is called Madame Dawson.^^ 

6—2 



84 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

"Thanks for the information. I fancy she 
has gone down into the saloon. What makes 
her always wear a thick black veil V^ 

" She did not have it on when we came on 
board/^ 

" Did she not ? Oh, she was putting it on in 
no end of a hurry when I walked on deck, and 
made off down the companion ladder at such a 
rate that I thought she must certainly come a 
cropper with those fine high-heeled boots of hers/^ 

" I wish you could have seen her without the 
veil ! She is lovely — intensely beautiful." 

" What strong adjectives you use — I suppose 
schoolgirls always do — ' lovely/ ' charming 
et cetera !' Where are you going to ?" 

" I want to see why Madame has gone away. 
She will perhaps think it rude of me to stay here 
and leave her by herself. ^^ 

^' Never mind what she thinks — what does it 
matter ? She is probably sea-sick. Although I 
should scarcely think she has had time to feel ill. 
Are you a good sailor ?" 

" I don^t know. It is twelve years since I 
was in a steamer.^^ 

" You don^t mean to say you remember twelve 
years ago \" 

'' Weil, not very clearly. But I do in a sort 
of way.^^ 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 85 

"Not very distinctly^ I should think. Now 
for an affecting farewell. Timers up.^' 

Paterfamilias assures his anxious better half 
that the thirty odd boxes are safe ; the lovers, 
with a tremendous effort, say good-bye. 

" Don^t watch the vessel out of sight, or we 
shall never meet again,^' she sobs. 

'' My own. Good-bye !" 

"And youll send me a telegram and write 
directly and tell me everything,^^ she says for the 
hundredth time. 

" Now, sir V the Captain interferes. 

"Good-bye, darling; remember 9 a.m. I must 
go. Good-bye \" 

He moves away. She sinks down on the seat, 
covers her head in her shawl, and cries like any 
child. 

" I wonder how many deluded beings have 
said the same words, and travelled over the same 
well-worn track," remarks Mr. Ferrier. 

" But it is all fresh and new to them, poor 
things ! I do hope they will meet again," says 
Thyrza, with genuine interest. 

" I trust you are not going to join your tears 
to hers, just out of pure sympathy. Why, you 
don't imagine they will be faithful ? The hotter 
their supposed affection is, the sooner it will 
burn itself out." 



86 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Of course they will/^ 

" Now, 1^11 tell you exactly what he will do. 
He will look at the boat going out of harbour 
and feel a little sentimental. Then he will take 
out his watch to see how long it will be before 
dinner, smoke a pipe^ and think a B.-and-S. not 
a bad idea.^' 

" What is a B.-and-S. ?' 

" A B.-and-S. is a bottle of soda water with 
some brandy added to flavour it, and to take off 
"the chill. It is convenient to call it B.-and-S. 
Brevity is the soul of wit. Now to finish the 
proceedings of him. After the B.-and-S., he 
will moon about, and, feeling dull in the evening, 
will pay a visit to a friend who has some lively 
daughters warmly attached to her, with whom 
he will amuse himself, merely to keep up his 
spirits, with a little flirtation. On the evening 
that he does not drop in at his friend^s, he may 
patronize the billiard table. On the whole, he 
contrives to rub along pretty well. Man is a 
sociable animal, and was never meant to dwell in 
solitude by himself within four walls.''^ 

'^ And how about her ?'* 

'' She will look disconsolate, as you see her 
now, for a few hours ; but a glance at the mirror 
will convince her that crying is a bad specula- 
tion and will damage her chances. So she 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 87 

cheers up, sighs occasionally^ talks volumes of 
rubbish to her confidante about ' darling ' Blank 
for a few days ; is introduced to an eligible ; 
makes herself agreeable to him/' 

'' I don't believe it." 

" After a time he, on the other side of the 
Chaonel, receives a short letter, which he stuffs 
into the hottest part of the fire. She has deter- 
mined to wait no longer, and to go through life 
with the eligible.'' 

" What a shame !" 

" Not at all. There are as good fish in the 
sea as ever came out of it. She is a sensible 
young person not to wait for the chance of — 
as he phrases it — something turning up." 

" What will become of him .?" 

" He laments to his friends how badly he 
has been treated ; thinks seriously of the next 
world for a short period, and the tailor's account 
he ought to square ; discovers his mental misery 
does not afflict his appetite nor his digestive 
organs ; reflects that his unhappiness will be 
lightened if shared ; proposes eventually to some 
one who has only just appeared on the scene of 
action ; marries her ; meets the first she with 
calmness." 

" He ought not to get over it so soon." 

'^ Men die of many diseases, but I never knew 



88 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

of any one who died of love or from a broken 
heart. You may depend people are tougher 
than that. Time blunts the feelings and recon- 
ciles one to everything. Why^ it is beginning to 
rain !" 

" Do you think we shall have a bad passage V 

" It looks queer and uncertain. In squally 
weather the boat is sometimes many hours in 
crossing. If you will allow me to arrange my 
rug for you, I think I can make you as comfort- 
able as you would be below.^^ 

^' I have nothing on that the rain can hurt/^ 
replies Thyrza, hesitating to open the rusty 
cotton Mrs. Gamp umbrella, filled with holes — 
a present from Miss Holt in a fit of extraordinary 
generosity at the last moment. Thyrza would 
rather be drenched through and through than be 
forced to let Mr. Ferrier see these disreputable 
holes and rags. She is not ashamed of the 
poverty and plainness of her dress, but she is 
ashamed of the tattered umbrella. 

" True/^ says Mr. Ferrier ; " and you have no 
complexion to wash off. But you may catch 
cold." 

" I never catch cold.''-' 

" So much the better then/'' unfolding a tiger- 
skin rug^ lined with scarlet, w^hich he wraps 
round Thyrza, and opening a large white um- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 89 

brella lie sits down beside her. There is a stiff 
breeze blowing and a heavy swell on the waters; 
the boat ploughs her way with difficulty through 
the waves ; the spray flies high, washing right 
on to the deck ; the wet wind dashes salt racy 
tears in Thyrza^s face, rendering her cheeks 
rosy like a crimson clove carnation ; her hair 
glistens with raindrops, her eyes sparkle with 
animation ; she can feel the engines leap be- 
neath her as they struggle against a strong sou'- 
wester and the wild surf, and she exclaims — 

^^ Oh, this is delicious V 

" You are not frightened then T* 

'' Not a bit. And what splendid waves ! 
There is a great black-green monster V' as the 
steamer sinks in the trough of one billow, then 
rises like a bird on the top of the next. 

" Thought you would get on to ^ splendid,^ 
and so forth, sooner or later.''^ 

" You laugh at me.'' 

" No ; I was thinking you were a study. 
You know I am a disagreeable man. You 
thought so ; come, do not deny it. I saw it 
plainly written on your countenance in the 
billiard-room. I suppose you threw away the 
rose out of the diligence window long before 
you got to Trois d'Or. Have you any objection 
to a cigar ?'' 



90 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" No ; I think it must be nice to smoke. I 
once took a whiff from old Mr. Spindler^s pipe ; 
but I thought I should have died^ I was so ill 
afterwards.'''' 

'^ Ah ! only want the opportunity, not the 
will, to be fast. Opportunity is everything. 
How neatly you have got out of it about the 
rose V 

Thyrza produces the rose from an envelope in 
her pocket. 

" I apologize/'' says Mr. Terrier ; ^' I always 
make a point of doing so when I am in the 
wrong. Now, Mademoiselle, do you think you 
can hold the umbrella with both hands for a 
minute while I strike a light ? Don't let it blow 
overboard ; I have a sincere attachment to this 
umbrella, and also to my old wideawake hat. 
They have both been with me half over the 
world.^' 

Only a few passengers remain on deck, most 
of them having gone below ; for the rain is 
pouring as though it had never rained since the 
Deluge. The wind increases in strength, and 
they make but little progress against the com- 
bined elements. Owing to these circumstances, 
a nervous lady is certain they are all going to 
the bottom forthwith, and she is very indignant 
with her husband for refusing to remonstrate 



BEOWN AS A BERRY. 91 

witli tlie Captain. Nothiug will induce her to 
quit her husband^s arm, or to believe his assu- 
rance there is no danger. The artist stretches 
himself at full length on a rug. Wrapped up in a 
waterproof mackintosh and hat, he is independent 
of the weather, and fraternizes with a burly, 
close-shaven priest. A lanky American, fresh 
from the prairies of the far West, who has come 
to have a look at the little island of Britain, 
strides across to Ferrier^s corner and settles 
himself near Thyrza. 

" Guess it^s going to be a dirty day,^^ he 
observes. 

" I daresay you are right,^^ returns Terrier. 

" Been to Paris ? So have L Been taking 
out a patent for a new machine, which at the 
same time will cut, rake, bind in sheaves, and 
thresh. Ah V slapping his knee emphatically, 
^' with all your old family and blue blood in 
Britain, you can^t buy brains.'''' 

" No, not in that way. But you can purchase 
their service. There is not much you cannot 
buy for money, and few circumstances that can- 
not, at least, be ameliorated by money. Every- 
thing has its price.^^ 

" Glad to hear you agree with me. Knew 
you were a man of sense. Been out of Britain 
before r 



92 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Yes/' 

^^ Bet any odds you like that you are a 
Scotcliman. They are as long-headed and 
nearly as 'cute as we are. Yes. I told you so. 
Would have laid any stakes on it.'' 

'^ How did you know ?" 

" You are so deuced slow and calculating in 
your answers. An Englishman always says 
plump out yes or no^ without hesitation. A 
Scotchman always stops a bit before he speaks 
for fear of committing himself; and is so 
cautious, you can only screw the whole truth 
out of him by a roundabout way. That is the 
reason the Scotch never say Amen at the end of 
their prayers. They are afraid of committing 
themselves to the minister's words." 

Mr. Terrier laughs. 

" I suppose I may call myself a Scotchman. 
My father was a Scotchman, but my mother is 
English. When I was at home we lived in 
England. And before going to Scotland I shall 
run down to the old place for a few days to look 
up the old neighbourhood." 

" Not resided in Scotland at all ?" asked the 
Yankee. 

^^ Not yet ; however, I hope soon to see the 
land of my ancestors. I feel quite a stranger in 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 93 

Europe^ as for the last eleven years I have been 
in China." 

" Been in business V 

Ferrier nods his head in affirmation. 

^'Tidy sort of business to be done there, I 
hear. Opium ?" 

"There is no opium trade excepting what is 
done by smugglers.''^ 

" Going back V 

" Yes ; in the course of a year. I shall re- 
turn by the Pacific Railway and San Francisco. 
I should have been in England long ago if the 
steamer in which I sailed from Shanghai had not 
been obliged to put into Bombay for six weeks 
while repairs were being made to her engines.''^ 

" Splendid trip that from New York ! Well/' 
his glance falling on Thyrza, " taking your 
darter home from school in Paris, I guess.'' 

Mr. Ferrier and she look at each other, and 
burst out laughing simultaneously. 

" I must confess. Mademoiselle Thyrza," says 
he. 

" Rutherfurd/' she suggests. 

" Miss Rutherfurd, then. My name is Jack 
Ferrier. Well, I must confess I do not see 
much resemblance between my handsome visage 
and Mademoiselle's. She must be extremely 



94 BEOWN AS A BEKEY. 

flattered. I daresay I donH look over and 
above juvenile/^ taking off his hat and exhibiting 
to view a crop of thick black hair, considerably 
streaked with grey, " and old enough to be your 
father. Only it is rather a joke to be taken for 
the head of a family before one has hanged one- 
self in the fatal matrimonial noose. How old 
are you, Mademoiselle ? Fourteen or fifteen, at 
the outside ? You need not be ashamed yet of 
telling your age.''^ 

" I am seventeen past, Monsieur.-''' 

" Should not have thought it. You are small 
for your time of life ; but probably you will 
grow.^^ 

" Beg pardon, sir/^ says the Yankee. " Had 
no idea but that you were the young lady^s 
father. Made sure you were taking her from 
school. Meant no offence." 

Ferrier intimates he understands nothing of 
the kind was intended. 

" Going down to the cabin V continues the 
Yankee ; " can recommend the provisions as par- 
ticularly good.-" 

Cousin Jonathan departs to obtain somewhat 
wherewith to refresh his inner man, saying some- 
thing to himself to the effect that there is '^ a 
considerable deal of human natur in a man when 
he sees a likely girl like that, and he reckons he 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 95 

has put his foot into it pretty well with that 
party /^ Terrier and Thyrza are silent for some 
minutes. Then he speaks. 

'^ A penny for your thoughts,, Mademoiselle V^ 

" Will you pay the penny if I tell you V' 

" How mercenary you are ! Do not you give 
anything for nothing ? Are you mentally com- 
paring our supposed resemblance ? You pass 
your hand over your chin as though you already 
felt the stubble of a beard growing.^" 

'^ No, Monsieur. I was not thinking of you 
at all.^^ 

" Of whom, or of what, then V 

" I was wondering what Mr. Spindler would 
be doing at this time in the pension, and how the 
Italian is getting on.^^ 

*^ I don^t know about Mr. Spindler, but I can 
tell you of the lad. Mr. Spindler called upon 
me after you had driven off with Madame Dawson 
in the diligence. We talked over matters. I 
found him a much more rational being than I 
had anticipated.^^ 

'' Poor Mr. Spindler V says Thyrza. '' Cannot 
any one be considered to have common sense 
unless he has been in business P^-* 

"Business is by no means to be despised; 
especially if it pays. I don''t say there are not 
higher things in the world. That is not the 



96 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

question/^ returned Terrier. " Well; after a 
long consultation, Mr. Spindler and myself got 
the boy apprenticed to a tailor in Villios." 

" Oh, Monsieur ; how droll ! A tailor of all 
people in the world.^' 

^' The first thing we did was to have his hair 
cut, and a new suit of clothes provided for him. 
He was not such a suitable object for a picture 
as when he presented himself before the window 
of your pension, but he has a chance of being 
immeasurably better than artistic — a well-behaved 
member of society. On the whole it was a good 
thing he happened to fall and cut his head. 
Are you hungry ?' 

" Desperately/' says Thyrza, concisely. 

"So am I. Shall we follow our Brother 
Jonathan's example, and discover what sort of 
sustenance is provided for the wayfarer V 

" I daresay Madame Dawson will be glad to 
see me.'' 

• " Madame Dawson ? I think somehow I've 
seen that woman before. Are you going to live 
with her in London ?" 

" No. I am only travelling with her. I go 
on to-morrow morning to a place called Lillies- 
hiU, in Kilniddry shire, in Scotland." 

" Lillieshill ! Why, who the deuce do you 
know there ?" 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 97 

" I don^t know any one — I wisli I did. At 
leasts I have seen Mr. Mark. But one does not 
remember mucli at the advanced age of five 
years." 

" Mark ? Why !" exclaims Ferrier^ looking 
exceedingly perplexed. 

" I am going to Lillieshill by Mr. Mark^s 
own special invitation/'' replies Thyrza. '^ Are 
you Mr. Mark V 

" No, of course not. Did I not tell you my 
name was Terrier ? But I see it now. You 
are the little girl whose father and mother died 
at Shanghai^ and whom Mark has been looking 
after.'' 

^'^ Yes/' Thyrza answers, " you are right. 
But how do you know Mr. Mark ?" she asks in 
her turn. 

" Mark is the greatest friend I have. We 
were in partnership in Shanghai. He has given 
up business now, and come home for altogether. 
I have got a new partner, a fellow called Lennox. 
But the idea of Mark being guardian to a girl 
like you !" 

"He is not my guardian." 

" Well, well ; comes to the same thing in the 
end. He acts the part without the name." 

" I suppose Mr. Mark is a benevolent stout 
man, rather bald^ and not tall?" 

VOL. I. 7 



98 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

^^ Mark would be pleased to hear your opinion. 
However, you will see him for yourself this time 
to-morrow evening." 

" ]\J y ideas are most probably all wrong/' says 
Thyrza. '' Madame '' 

" Oh, hang Madame V breaks in Ferrier. 
" Excuse me, Mademoiselle ; that slipped out un- 
awares. I have been living for the last five 
years up the Yang-tse-Kiang, about a hundred 
and fifty miles from Shanghai, and have scarcely 
spoken to a woman during that time, so I am 
afraid my manners have deserted me. Depend 
upon it, Madame has never given you a thought. 
She has hung up that marvellous yellow hair to 
save it from being crushed, and is at this 
moment l}ing flat upon her back in her berth as 
ill as possible, and groaning in despair. Odd ! 
I can^t get it out of my head, there is something 
familiar about her."' 

" You cannot have seen her before. She is 
an Andalusian, and married an English artist. 
She lived, until last year, in a flat in the Quartier 
Latin, when her husband died just as he came 
into an immense fortune.'^ 

" Queer,'' says Mr. Terrier, doubtfully. 
^^ When did you first see her ?" 

" We were introduced in the diligence at 
ViUios.'^ 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 99 

" And she told you her history at once^ with- 
out knowing anything about you/^ 

'' Yes, she did." 

" Hum ! Well, there are the white cliffs of 
Dover. We shall be in directly. What a 
shower ! Are you very wet ? Steady, donH be 
afraid. Let us get into the saloon." 

Mr. Ferrier is greeted by the Yankee^ who 
looks approvingly at Thyrza. She passes on to 
the ladies' cabin, where Madame is sitting, no 
trace of sea-sickness about her. 

'^ What a sly little puss you are V says she. 
" That is generally the case with you demure 
demoiselles. You have been sitting on deck 
this long while with the stiff Englishman, and 
forgot about poor me alone here without a friend 
to speak to." 

" Oh, no, Madame ; indeed I did not." 

" And what did you talk about ? Ah, you 
never spoke of mef' 

"Various subjects, and you among the rest. 
Mr. Ferrier" — Thyrza may be mistaken, but she 
cannot refrain from thinking Madame starts 
slightly and that the rose in her wax-like cheek 
fades — "Mr. Ferrier wondered why you always 
wore a black veil." 

" It would not be proper for a desolate widow 
to travel without some sort of protection." 

7—2 



100 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

At this juncture the steward is heard an- 
nouncing something in a loud voice in the saloon. 

" We are just in/^ says Madame. She pins 
the black veil over her bonnet^ and with the rest 
of the passengers hurries up on deck. The good 
ship steams along straight as an arrow shot from 
a tough ash bow over the swelling waves and 
tremendous surf. The white cliffs, crowned by 
the castle and fair green daisy-covered slopes, 
lying against a blue sky, come nearer. The 
rain has now ceased, and a rainbow stretches its 
arch of three colours across the sky, and Ferrier's 
lean bronzed face and keen eyes soften as if some 
strong emotion passed over them. Then come 
the crowd of cabbies and green-coated porters, 
and the sound of the familiar English tongue, 
and a Cockney pronouncing it is a warm day. 

The Yankee consoles a doleful and sea-sick 
fellow-traveller, whom he assists to land, with — 

^^ You should not have taken so much whisky 
to-day ; I knew how it would be. You should 
fight against it, and resolve not to be sick, and 
make up your mind to keep well. It only wants 
resolution" 

An original, if not a feasible idea. If one 
could remain in good health by merely willing 
it, there would be no employment for doctors, 
and, like the Wandering Jew, one might live on 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 101 

for ever. It may be recommended, however, as 
a new and cheap cure for sea- sickness which 
deserves consideration. 

" You had better telegraph to let Mark know 
you have got all right to England/' says Ferrier, 
when they have landed and are waiting for the 
important arrival of the boxes from the hold. 
" Or shall I send the telegram for you ?" 

Thyrza gratefully accepts his offer. Madame 
has put up a parasol and turned her back upon 
Ferrier. Thyrza observes him giving sundry 
quick looks at her^ but they must be very 
piercing indeed if they penetrate through the 
thickness of the shady veil and parasol. Madame 
is tongue-tied. 

^' I am sorry I cannot travel down with you, 
Mademoiselle/' pursues Ferrier ; " but I shall be 
at Carmylie — that is, near Lillieshill — the end 
of next week. Tell Mark both I and his flask 
will put in an appearance then.'' 



CHAPTER IV. 



N old house^ built of red sandstone^ half en- 
shrined in ivy, with muliions and many 
nooks and corners, and overhanging eaves, and 
odd staircases leading nowhere in particular — a 
quaint house, to which the fancies of several 
generations of owners of different tastes have 
added a wing in one part, an entrance in another, 
blocking up doors and opening out windows in 
all manner of strange and unexpected places — a 
house which, in every sense of the words, shows 
traces of being lived in and cared for. This is 
Lillieshill. Like most old houses, it lies low, 
and is built on a flat piece of ground entirely 
shut in by trees. Near the house is located a 
thriving colony of rooks that are just now 
winging their way to their nests from a turnip- 
field, after a friendly discussion on things in 
general and grubs and worms in especial. 

Through an opening in the trees, above a 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 103 

artificial cascade falling into a pond with a 
miniature island in the centre;, glimpses of rugged 
purple mountain peaks are visible, dappled with 
tender lights and shades melting into soft, 
pearly distance ; inky, indigo masses of pine 
forests embracing their feet ; brown peat-tinged 
burns winding among the upland fields, winking 
gold in the sun ; and green larches, their little 
scarlet tassel cones beginning to turn into dun 
colour. 

Lillieshill is always pretty. In early spring, 
when the wind stirs the budding beech leaves 
putting their heads out of their ruddy shells ; 
in summer, when they are interlacing their 
polished silver arms loaded with shimmering 
green foliage ; in autumn, when the branches are 
decked with scarlet and yellow, turned into 
rubies by the shifting sunlight, and the red 
squirrels lay up stores of the russet beech mast ; 
or in wmter, when the powdered driven snow 
spreads its white garment on the earth — Lillieshill 
is always fair, but perhaps never fairer than as 
now, at the hour of sundown on an evening in May. 

On the lawn, near the front door, is a group 
of three persons — a lady and two gentlemen. 
They are absorbed in the useful occupation of 
killing time, and are evidently expecting some 
one. Place aux dames. 



104 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Miss Lefroy is about fifty years of age^ thin, 
wrinkled, and decidedly plain. No one in the 
pleasant, though now remote days of her youth, 
had ever called Miss Lefroy other than very mode- 
rately good-looking. Matrimonially speaking, she 
has been a failure. In other words, she is an old 
maid. She is not ashamed of the name, and is on 
the whole not discontented with her condition — 
i.e., having plenty of money and little to employ 
her time. In spite of a certain stiffness and 
reserve in her manner, she is warmhearted and 
charitable, as the poor round Lillieshill and in 
the town of Queensmuir will testify. As her 
own hopes regarding herself have not come to 
fruition, Miss Lefroy hopes much for Mark. A 
woman, as a rule, must hope, if not for herself, 
for some one else. What she trusted would have 
been her own destiny she trusts will be realized 
in her favourite nephew, Mark. She is an 
accomplished linguist, and an earnest reader of 
the ^' Antiquity of Man,^^ and puzzles her brain 
with "The Origin of Species," the cosmic 
vapour, and other abstruse subjects ; but no one 
meeting her in society would guess that her 
abilities were above the ordinary run. Although 
an old maid, she has not imbibed the Woman^s 
Rights mania, nor has she arrived at the pitch of 
spelling that word witli a capital letter ; neither 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 105 

has she the least desire to expatiate on a platform 
in public, under the impression she is born to set 
the world as it ought to be, and remedy the 
grievances of society. In Mr. Lefroy she has 
great faith. She believes with him that he is 
the handsomest as well as the most talented and 
most fascinating of men, which says a good deal 
for both brother and sister, a prophet not being 
without honour save in his own country. 

Miss Lefroy^s opinion of her brother is 
scarcely shared by Luke Mark, a youug man of 
two or three and thirty, lately returned from 
China. He often finds Mr. Lefroy prosy and dull, 
especially as he does not take the same interest 
in prize cattle and old china and model cow- 
houses and dairies as Mr. Lefroy does. In appear- 
ance, Luke Mark is much what he was as a boy. 
He has blue eyes, fair hair, and a hooked nose, 
and he wears a blonde moustache. He is about 
five feet eight and a half in height, and there is 
an inexpressible air of neatness and dapperness 
about his whole outer man. 

Mr. and Miss Lefroy wish their nephew to 
marry. They are the sole survivors of a large 
family, and the next heir after Mark is a 
shopkeeper in the West End of London, who, 
being poor in his early days, had been glad to 
put his pride in his pocket, and work as a 



106 BROWN AS A BERRr. 

shopboy until better times came. These better 
times, as far as money was concerned, have 
already come round, and still more prosperous 
ones are in store for him, if Mark remains 
unmarried. The notion of a man who had 
worn a white apron and stood behind a counter 
becoming the possessor of Lillieshill, its curiosi- 
ties, its fat lands, its superb cattle, its splendid 
hothouses and appurtenances, is not pleasing to 
the Lefroys. Mr. Lefroy feels that if such comes 
to pass, he will not be able to lie peacefully in 
his grave. Such a man could not possibly 
appreciate the merits of old Dresden and Sevres j 
and as for the precious cattle, the apple of his 
eye and the joy of his soul, the only charm 
the next heir would see in them would be their 
capability of being converted into beef and money. 
This is an agonizing idea to their affectionate 
owner. 

So Mr. and Miss Lefroy, with the knowledge 
they cannot live for ever, and must, some time or 
other, quit Lillieshill for the narrow resting- 
place in their family burial ground at Queensmuir, 
earnestly desire that Mark should marry. 

As for Mr. Lefroy, he is a very particular 
and fussy elderly man with the relics of former 
good looks still remaining. He carries his pecu- 
liarities to such an extent, that he has door- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 107 

mats for ornaments in the hall, and others 
which are intended to serve their normal purpose 
of removing the mud from the boots or shoes 
of visitors, and special stands for sticks ; also, 
separate ones for umbrellas. In winter, he 
carefully airs his hat and gloves before the stove 
fire, to prevent all danger of catching cold. 
Everything about Lillieshill is sure to be ^'^his 
own idea,^' or else ^' his own invention,^^ and 
everything belonging to him is the finest of its 
kind. When he gets into the next world, he 
will miss his turtle-soup and his prize cattle, 
unless some very material change comes to his 
feelings before then. 

" By-the-bye, when do the people come to 
dinner ?^^ asks Mark. 

" Half-past seven,^^ returns Miss Lefroy. 

" Any one worth speaking to T' 

" Mrs. Ferrier from Carmylie, your partner^s 
mother, and her married daughter, Mrs. Napier. 
Husband a Captain in the Rifle Brigade in India^ 
But you know all about them, as you have seen 
them before.''^ 

" Well.^^ 

'' The MacNabs from Quentinshope/' 

" Who are they ?' 

" Rich retired jute merchants.^'' 

" Oh V 



108 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" My dear fellow^ they are as rich as Croesus — 
could eat gold if they liked/^ breaks in Mr. Lefroy. 

^' I daresay. Usual style of thing, I suppose. 
Rose from being a shoeblack, or something of 
the kind, with sixpence in his pocket. ''^ 

" No ; MacNab was not a shoeblack,^^ re- 
sponds Mr. Lefroy. '' His father was a weaver 
and his mother a cook. MacNab himself began 
life as a clerk, and fortune favoured him. He 
has had a capital education, and is a shrewd, 
clever man.^^ 

" I don't doubt it.'' 

^' It is useless to ignore these sort of people, 
Luke, for there the fact is. They are the great 
power of the age. MacNab is a good sort of 
fellow; he behaves himself; he does not talk 
shop. If you had not been told you would 
never have guessed his mother was a cook. 
And a very excellent cook too," proceeds Mr. 
Lefroy, rubbing his hands ; " I remember her 
perfectly well at Carmylie, many years ago now, 
when the Campbells owned the place." 

" From whom the Ferriers bought it." 

" Yes ; the Campbells went to smash, and 
old Ferrier bought the place dirt cheap. Bless 
me ! People don't ask how did you make your 
money ? It is, how much has he got ? Or, has 
he got any at all?" 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 109 

'^ Well^ now for the elegant Frencli girl/^ 
says Luke Mark. " (irecian bend, Roman fall, 
and two or three pounds'* worth of hair that 
grew on somebody else's head.'' 

" I hope she does not wear nails in her 
boots/' rejoins Mr, Lefroy, reflectively. " I should 
not like to have the new oak in the library 
scratched." 

" She must stay at least three weeks, I 
suppose/' sighs Miss Lefroy . '' Whatever shall 
we do with a fashionable young lady at Lillies- 
hill; and more especially one accustomed to live 
in a town ? She is your visitor, Luke, not 
mine ; so you must look after her. There are 
the horses, at any rate; so you can ride and 
drive with her, and we may get up a pic-nic 
or two." 

" Perhaps she takes an interest in cattle or 
old china. If so, there will be always the 
model cowhouse aud the old Dresden for her 
to amuse herself with/' says Mr. Lefroy. " Oh ! 
sweet effect there !" pointing to a gleam of sun- 
shine stealing through the russet-hued beech 
buds from which the green leaves are bursting, 
and the long drooping branches that touch the 
smooth sward. 

" There she is !" cries Miss Lefroy, as a 
carriage drives along the gravel sweep to the house. 



110 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

It does not enter into Thyrza^s head to wait 
nntil she is assisted to descend. Directly the 
carriage stops she springs out to the gravel walk, 
to the astonishment of the stately footman, 
who announces that Mr. and Miss Lefroy and 
Mr. Mark are at home in a voice of displeasure 
at her unconventional proceedings. 

Mark and his uncle and aunt are so amazed 
at the advent of the childish figure dressed in 
such odd, clumsy clothes, that at first they think 
there must be some mistake, and remain silent, 
until at last Mark gives vent to a lengthy 
" Whe-ew V 

Thyrza walks forward to meet them, ignorant 
of their feelings of astonishment. Her hat -string 
has broken on the journey, and it has fallen off 
in leaving the carriage. She picks it up and 
comes along with it in her hand, through the 
bright sunshine, her hair blowing about over her 
shoulders. 

" Please, I have not come to the wrong house, 
have I ?" she asks, terrified at no one speaking, 
and clutching nervously to the Mrs. Gamp 
umbrella, which has clung faithfully to her 
during all her travels. No one ever loses an 
old gingham. It is always a nice new dapper 
silk one that evaporates and is never heard of 
again. " Please, I^m Thyrza Rutherfurd.^^ 



BROWN AS A BERRY. Ill 

'' To be sure V exclaims Mark^ heartily. 
" Welcorae to Lillieshill, Miss Rutherfurd. Glad 
you have found your way safely. Troublesome 
long journey. I hear you met my friend Ferrier ; 
I had a note from him this morning telling me 
about you.^^ 

" You must be very tired^ dear/^ says Miss 
Lefroy^ her mind infinitely relieved from the idea 
of the Girl of the Period she imagined she would 
be cooped up with for several weeks ; and her heart 
goes out to the pale and somewhat weary face. 

" A little^ thank you/^ replies Thyrza, with a 
strong French accent. 

" We expected a regular boarding-school young 
lady/^ pursues Mark, in explanation of his hesita- 
tion in welcoming her, which has clearly left a 
painful impression on her mind ; " it is a long 
time since you and I met_, so you must excuse 
me if at first I did not quite remember your 
features.^^ 

"You are Mr. Mark ?^' she inquires. 

"Yes; at least I believe so. I trust no 
claimant will arrive to assert he is Luke Mark, 
and that I am somebody else.^'' 

" Then it is you who are my benefactor/' she 
replies. "I give you my best thanks for all 
your kindness to me.'' 

She says it as if instructed what words to use, 



112 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

and her manner puts Mark on his most courteous 
behaviour. 

" I am well repaid,, Miss Rutherfurd^ by having 
the pleasure of seeing you here to-day/^ he an- 
swers^ politely. 

" How did you manage about changing for 
Queensmuir at Bogdrum Junction T' asks Mr. 
Lefroy. " I hope you had no trouble about your 
luggage ?" 

'^ Is that the place where a man calls out sud- 
denly, ' Change hee-ar for Queensmuir/ just as 
if some one had run a pin into him T' she 
rejoins, with a merry laugh, which does away in 
great measure with any further formality. 

" I suppose it must have been.'''' 

" Well, I asked for my box there, and the 
man with the abrupt squeaky voice said it was 
not in the van. So I have lost it.''"' 

" Lost it ? — how unfortunate ! Some people 
are coming to dinner, too, to-night. How will 
you manage without an evening dress V 

" Oh, I had no evening dresses in it, so it does 
not signify.^^ 

" Was it directed ?' 

" No, I don't think it was.'' 

" Dear me, dear me ! — very provoking, to be 
sure, for you ! Most annoying — particularly so. 
Ought to telegraph at once to the station- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 113 

master at Queensmuir. Case of gross neglect — 
culpable neglect of duty. Shall kick up a pretty 
row, and get some one punished/'' says Mr. 
Lefroy, beginning to walk up and down the lawn 
as if violently agitated. 

" Was it labelled for Queensmuir ?" asks 
Mark. 

*' La— belled?^' 

" Had it a pink or blue luggage-ticket put on 
it at King^s Cross T' 

" I do not know. There was such a crowd at 
the station,, and everybody did seem in such a 
hurry I never saw it after it was taken from the 
cab.^^ 

" The chances are you will never see it again/'' 
returns Mark, consolingly. ^^ As to kicking up 
a shindy with the Company, that''s no use. 
You\e no claim against them unless it was pro- 
perly labelled and directed." 

'' Miss Rutherfurd, will you come into the 
drawing-room^ and have a cup of tea?" says 
Miss Lefroy, with a smile ; '^ then you can rest 
a little before dinner.''^ 

" Oh yes, I should like that, for I am so hot 
and sticky and uncomfortable. You see I have 
had so many misfortunes, and broken the string 
of my hat, and lost my gloves^ besides my box/^ 
answers Thyrza, cordially. 

VOL. I. 8 



114 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Purvisj bring some tea/^ to tlie tall footman. 
" Sit down on the sofa^ dear.^^ 

Thyrza leans back luxuriously, while Miss 
Lefroy laments the loss of the box. Such a 
deliciously cool room it is, furnished with walnut- 
wood and hangings of different shades of green 
from palest sea-green to the darkest moss-tint. 
A scent as of pot pourri, or dried violets, lingers 
in its recesses. The walls are hung with pic- 
tures by various choice masters both ancient and 
modern; the corners filled with cabinets inlaid 
with gold and porcelain of great antiquity. 

A conservatory, separated from the drawing- 
room by a glass door, discloses arcades of the 
clinging festoons of the Virginia creeper, which 
will shortly be out in profusion; New Zealand 
ferns and small palm trees stand in large tubs in 
rows up and down. 

Tea appears presently on a tiny round tray. 
Thyrza helps herself, and pours out cream from a 
stumpy crystal jug, studded over with little knobs 
of green and ruby. 

^' What a pretty place \" exclaims Thyrza, 
attacking the thin slices of home-made bread 
and butter with relish. " If only 1 had not lost 
my box, I should be quite happy .''^ 

'^ Mr. Lefroy will see about it for you to- 
morrow. I am afraid nothing can be done 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 115 

to-day. Poor child ! — I am so sorry for it/' 
rejoins Miss Lefroy. " I know what it is to 
arrive at a strange place without any of my 
possessions/' 

Miss Lefroy's fingers long to smooth Thyrza's 
rough hair^ and pin her collar straight for her. 
Thyrza^s collars had always a knack of slipping 
towards the back of her neck, and her hats 
a strong inclination to remain in any position 
rather than in the proper one of straight on the 
top of her head. If a briar, or nail, or loose 
screw were anywhere at hand, her dress or petti- 
coat never missed an opportunity of getting 
entangled, usually to its great and grievous 
detriment. Uncared for, with no one to mind 
whether she looked well or ill at the pension^ she 
has grown up without any of the little arts and 
small vanities which most girls employ to embel- 
lish their persons. Continually told she was plain 
and ugly, she has hitherto thought it useless to 
take pains in adorning herself. Not that she 
has not thought about her appearance. Like 
the majority of girls, one of the dearest desires 
of her heart is to be pretty ; and with the con- 
viction of her own defects, she has an ardent 
admiration for the beautiful. 

" I am afraid you must think T am a dreadfully 
untidy girl," says Thyrza, rising, and looking at 

8—2 



116 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

herself in one of the numerous mirrors. " "What 
a guy I am^ and what a number of smuts have 
settled on the end of my nose V' 

'' People do look a little untidy after a long 
journey/^ returns Miss Lefroy, evasively. 

" But^ really, I am sometimes neat, though, in 
general, I am not a very tidy person.^^ 

"We must try to find some kind of a gown 
for you, my dear,^^ pursues Miss Lefroy, taking 
Thyrza upstairs. " Luke brought a large box 
home from China with him, in which very likely 
we may discover a dress that will fit you." 

She produces a bunch of keys, and after a con- 
siderable amount of fiddling and hackling at the 
lock with every key on the bunch before finding 
the right one, opens a big chest, on which are 
the initials " T. K/'' in brass-headed nails. 

On the top lie sundry Chinese curiosities of 
wonderful embroidery on scarlet and black cloth, 
a bag filled with the ordinary coin of the Celes- 
tials, heavy and inconvenient as to size and weight ; 
a collection of beautifully- carved ivory idols and 
odd figures engaged in wrestling, and specimens 
of the red, white, and yellow balls worn by the 
different grades of Mandarins. Below are dresses 
of a fashion long since out of date, skimpy in 
the skirts, and peculiar about the body and 
sleeves. There is nothing that Thyrza can wear. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 117 

^^ Oil;, who is this ?" she cries abruptly, pulling 
out a water-colour sketch of a womaii^s head, 
painted on a rough piece of sketching-paper. 

" I have not the slightest idea/"* says Miss 
Lefroy ; ^' I daresay Luke knows. But most pro- 
bably it is merely a fancy head. Put it into one 
of these drawers, and then you will find it when 
you want it again. ^ A place for everything and 
everything in its place' is a valuable maxim. 
Come to my room, and we will see if any of my 
gowns could be converted into a garment for you. 
No, I fear not.-*^ 

Rumbles of carriage-wheels are now audible 
on the sweep, and young ladies with fans and 
opera-cloaks begin to alight. 

" What shall we do ?'^ exclaims Miss Lefroy. 
" There is no gown that will fit you. Ah ! I 
know.^' 

She turns in the collar of Thyrza^s little grey 
linen dress, pins broad, rich white lace round the 
opening, fastens black velvet and a pearl brooch 
at her throat, combs her thick hair back from her 
forehead, tying it with red ribbons ; and taking 
a spray of scarlet geraniums and maiden-hair fern 
from a vase, places it on one side of her head. 

^^ What do you think of yourself now ?'' she 

Oh, how nice I look ! Really just like other 



118 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

people. Thank you ever so much/^ throwing her 
arms round Miss Lefroy^'s neck, not to the benefit 
of the neat arrangement of her cap. She is not 
accustomed to being embraced — indeed very few 
persons would have had the hardihood even to 
dream of embracing her — and she is, in conse- 
quence, surprised and a little taken aback at 
Thyrza^s open expression of pleasure. 

'' I say \" exclaims a voice outside Miss Lefroy^s 
bedroom door. 

" Yes, Richard.'' 

'' I say, Fan/' 

^^Yes, Richard,'' responds Miss Lefroy, going 
to the door, and opening it. 

" What ! — are not you dressed yet ? Nearly 
everybody has come, and cook has sent word that 
if she does not dish up at once the dinner will be 
spoilt ; and after the trouble I have taken about 
arranging the menu, that would be very disap- 
pointing. It might give me a fit of indigestion, 
and probably — most probably — would cause me a 
sleepless night." 

" I will be as quick as I can," returns Miss 
Lefroy. " Miss Rutherfurd, would not you like 
to go down with Mr. Lefroy?" 

" Oh no, thank you," says Thyrza. " I had 
rather wait for you." 

" My maid has gone for her holiday just now," 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 119 

proceeds Miss Lefroy, putting on a violet-silk 
gown and a cap to match, with violets and white 
marabout feathers. " Here is my dressing-case, 
dear. Will you choose some rings or bracelets 
for me ? I am so pleased I have managed so 
nicely about your frock. I know girls think so 
much about their appearance, I used also when 
I was your age. Let me see : you want a sash 
yet, and a pair of lace sleeves to finish you. Did 
not Miss Holt give you enough to eat ? You are 
not very fat." 

" Oh yes : Miss Holt was not quite so bad as 
all that. We had always plenty of food.^"' 

" I never was at school myself — horrid places, 
I think. Invariably, some black sheep there. 
About gloves : you ought to have a pair — these 
are rather soiled. ''^ 

" I can carry them in my hand to show I have 
some,^' says Thyrza — a bright idea striking her. 
She holds up for Miss Lefroy's selection a big 
emerald, like a lump of green fire, on a band of 
gold withoat any of the metal round the stone, 
and a hoop of coral and brilliants. 

'* Very well, dear," answers Miss Lefroy, 
drawing on the rings, and settling her spectacles 
on her nose. 

They go down to the drawing-room, and after 
a few remarks upon the inexhaustible and pre- 



120 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

vailing topic of the weather^ the guests pair off 
into dinner, Thyrza falling to the lot of a very 
tall young man, blessed with a prodigious opinion 
of himself and a wide expanse of shirt-front. He 
is the eldest hope of the MacNab family; and 
will, on the decease of his father,, inherit an 
immense fortune. In course of time he intends 
marrying^ but not one of the Kilniddryshire girls. 
They are not fine enough for him. Nothing 
under an Earl's daughter will suit the heir of 
Quentinshope. He lives in daily apprehension 
of some one '' hooking him/*' and regards the 
majority of women as so many mantraps set to 
ensnare his valuable self. 

At first he seems inclined to be friendly with 
Thyrza, and imagining she is of French extraction 
from her foreign accent and appearance^ he tries 
to air his French ; but observing a twinkle of fun 
in her eyes on his saying something about " avec 
tres beaucoup distingue plaisir/' which answer 
of his to a question of Thyrza's unfortunately 
occurs at one of those dead silences which some- 
times happen in the conversation at a party, he 
abandons any further attempts at talking for the 
more substantial delights of the table. 

The dinner and its appointments are perfect. 
Mr. Lefroy devotes most of his spare time to the 
study of the science of cookery^ which he regards 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 121 

as an art. '^ God sends good food^^ is a favourite 
quotation of his, '^ but the devil makes the cooks/' 
What he is going to have for dinner is his first 
thought in the morning; how it will turn out 
oppresses him towards evening, and when the 
suspense is over, and he finds the fish boiled to 
the requisite firmness, he subsides into a condition 
of placid good temper. The certain way to get 
on with Mr. Lefroy is to flatter him. Carping 
critics of John Stuart MilFs life have declared the 
reason he idolized his wife and entertained so 
high an opinion of her intellect, was because she 
knew how to flatter his weak points. One very 
weak point of Mr. Lefroy's is his great capacity 
for swallowing any amount of flattery, no matter 
how gross and palpable ; and any one aware of 
this quality might lead him very easily. 

He has taken some trouble iu arranging the 
party, which consists of himself, Miss Lefroy, 
Thyrza, Luke Mark, Mr. and Mrs. MacNab of 
Quentinshope, Archibald MacNab younger, and 
his two sisters, Lola and Jane — tall, dashing 
girls, with freckled complexions and pale hair ; 
Mrs. Napier, known as the White Witch in her 
husband's regiment ; Mr. Dods, the minister of 
Carmylie fishing village ; Mr. Hislop, the bank 
agent for the British Jute Company in Queens- 
muir^ the neighbouring post town ; and Lord and 



122 BKOWN AS A BERRY. 

Lady George Bogg, an old married couple, who, 
during forty years of wedded life, have grown 
singularly like each other, the only apparent 
diflPerence being that Lord George has a beard, 
and wears a coat and trousers, and Lady George 
has no beard, and is dressed in ordinary woman^s 
guise. The whole party are comfortably accom- 
modated at one of those pleasant round tables 
where you are not separated from your opposite 
neighbour by a desert of tablecloth, but may 
converse with him or her, as the case may be, 
without requiring to raise your voice to an 
alarming pitch. 

Dinners by daylight are never so successful as 
those by gas or candlelight. The sun is not 
merciful to faded complexions, and exposes any 
attempt to " make up" with unsparing severity. 
The ladies' jewels do not sparkle properly, and 
even Lady George^s diamond necklace, and the 
star in the false plait over her wrinkled forehead, 
lose half their brilliancy. Neither does the 
silver and crystal on the table look so bright as 
it does in the winter evenings when the shutters 
are closed, the crimson curtains drawn across the 
French windows, a fire burns on the old-fashioned 
brass dogs, that have not been abolished from 
Lillieshill, and a good lamp sheds its soft light 
over the gilt picture-frames and the pretty gowns 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 123 

of the guests. Conversation does not flow so 
freely either. Bon mots and jeux d 'esprit sound 
poor ; it is, in fact, like talking sentiment at 
breakfast in the glare of broad daylight. Then 
one feels rather guilty at devoting so much time 
to dining when without all is so fresh and sweet, 
and that most charming hour of the summer 
day, the twilight, comes on. When the sun has 
set, and there is that momentary hush and still- 
ness in the air just before night fairly falls, and 
a bird chirps to its mate among the ivy at 
Lillieshill, one wishes to stroll out through the 
rose-garden, and loiter a little in the long avenue 
of stately lime-trees, instead of sitting down to a 
formal dinner. 

Mr. Lefroy infinitely prefers dining by candle- 
light, but Miss Lefroy has persuaded him not to 
exclude the day. So the sun is permitted to 
shine its last rays through the beeches into the 
dining-room, and although it does not set off 
Lady George^s diamonds to their usual advan- 
tage, it would be hard to find fault with the 
golden beams that trickle over the tree-tops and 
settle on Mrs. Napier's fair hair. Nor indeed 
could much objection be found with the view of 
mountains, woods, fields, and the mossy lawn, 
the last mentioned one of the prides and beauties 
of Lillieshill. 



124 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

^' Nothing in the papers at present^ excepting 
the usual aniount of accidents and the wonderful 
Tichborne trial/'' observes Luke Mark. 

" There never is at this time of year ; the 
chief j^lace is occupied with the proceedings of 
Parliament/'' replies the elder Mr. MacNab. 
" How are your turnips looking^ Mr. Lefroy ?" 

" Oh^ pretty well. We shall want rain before 
long. I am going to try a new kind of top- 
dressing of my own invention^ on some fields on 
the Home Farm.^' 

" How beautifully green the fields are about 
Lillieshill/' says Lola MacNab. 

"The result of irrigation on a plan of my 
own. If you want a thing done well, do it 
yourself.'"' 

" As Punch said when the master of the 
house got up shivering at 4 a.m. on a cold 
winter's morning to let in the chimney-sweep. 
Poor John Leech ! how inimitably he drew/' 
rejoins Mark. 

" Have you been long in this part of the 
globe ?'"' asks the minister, Thyrza's other neigh- 
bour. 

" No, I only came to Lillieshill to-day.^' 

'^ She lost her luggage at Bogdrum/^ adds 
Miss Lefroy. 

" Ought to have your initials painted on your 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 125 

boxes/^ breaks in Mr. Lefroy ; " I have mine — 
idea of my own. Initial Jj, as long as tbis, 
painted on black ground^, known all over Scot- 
land. See it even on the darkest nigbt in that 
condemned criminal's cell at tbe Waverley Sta- 
tion, where you are forced to rout out your 
luggage on the way from the South. Scandalous 
shame, scandalous ! Capital of Scotland, too. 
Never trust to railway guards — humbugs, delu- 
sions. Look after it yourself. Have particular 
covers or marks by which they can be identified, 
and take off the old labels when you get home, 
in case of mistake.'''' 

" There are wonderfully few cases of lost 
luggage, if you consider the enormous quantity 
of traffic and how hard-worked the servants of 
the Company are/' says the minister. 

" Partridges are likely to be scarce and small. 
The immense amount of rain we have had did 
them a great deal of harm.'' 

" What sort of condition are the rivers in, 
Mr. Dods ? You are the angler par excellence 
of this district." 

" I have not been able to do much yet, the 
waters have been so muddy and swollen with the 
late heavy rains. But when the May fly is on 
the Bogg I anticipate some fair sport." 

" Fishing always seems to me a cowardly and 



126 BROWN AS A BERRY, 

cruel sport/^ says Lola MacNab ; ^^ fancy a great 
big man spending hours in enticing a poor little 
fish out of the water. There it lies with the 
hook in its mouth panting with pain." 

" Pish were made to be eaten, Miss MacNab/"* 
remarks Mr. Lefroy, solemnly ; " besides, they 
are cold-blooded creatures, and do not feel 
much.^^ 

^^ Indeed, Miss MacNab, I must own I have 
sometimes felt rather guilty, too, when I saw the 
trout lying on the bank looking up at me with 
its fine black eyes almost reproachfully. But as 
Mr. Lefroy says, they are intended to be eaten, 
and they have always a fair chance of escape. 
They need not bite unless they like." 

This is the first dinner party at which Thyrza 
had ever been present. As time goes on, and 
course after course is removed, and entree after 
entree arrives and is handed round by the foot- 
men, seeing no dishes on the table she becomes 
a good deal surprised. She waits patiently for 
the beef to appear and be placed on the table, 
but minutes elapse and still nothing comes, and 
the flowers and fruit alone ornament Mr. Lefroy's 
hospitable mahogany. 

^' Where is the rest of the dinner ?" she at 
last inquires of the minister. " I don^t see it in 
the room." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 127 

'^ We-el, Miss Rutherfurd/^ he rejoins, en- 
deavouring unsuccessfully to modulate the loud, 
distinct tones of his voice^ grown sonorous and 
bass from long practice in addressing sleepy con- 
gregations in the kirk at the fishing village, 
" we-el, it's on the side table, and this is called 
the diner h la Russe. I am exactly of your 
opinion in this respect, and like to see what I am 
eating. The diner a la Russe is very well if you 
are not hungry, for what with talking, and the 
constant changing of the plates, one does not get 
much to eat at a dinner party /^ 

" Oh, do you think so ?" answers Archie 
MacNab, having overheard the minister's obser- 
vation, and speaking much in the tone in which 
the London swell, on hearing a country cousin 
had committed the enormity of eating mustard 
with mutton, exclaimed, " Did the fellow die ?'^ 
" I never like to see a lady hewing away at a 
couple of tough chickens or a huge joint of 
underdone beef — there is something very re- 
volting in the idea.'' 

'* Ice, Miss ?" inquires the footman of Thyrza. 

Slightly confused, she inadvertently places the 
useful cooling article intended for her champagne 
on her plate beside a rissole, which, being hot, 
presently melts it into a small pool of water. 
By this time she has recovered herself, and grows 



128 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

uncomfortably hot on perceiving her mistake. 
She hopes no one has observed it, but Archie 
MacNab calls out for the ice to be brought back 
and insists on putting it himself into her wine- 
glass. It has the effect of rendering Thyrza 
silent until the ladies leave the dining-room. 

^' Have you been attending the Parochial 
Board in Queensmuir lately^ Mr. Lefroy V asks 
the minister. 

" Not for the last two months/^ rejoins Mr. 
Lefroy. ^'^Perfect bear-garden, perfect bear-garden. 
The last time I was there I gave those presump- 
tuous, conceited fellows a bit of my mind, I can 
tell you. They are none the worse for being 
sworn at a little. In fact, without that they 
would argue you out of your Christian name. / 
soon said what / meant.'^ 

Just as Thyrza is speculating how much longer 
they will be at dinner — by the timepiece on the 
mantelpiece they have already been more than 
two hours and a half in the dining-room — Miss 
Lefroy gives a mysterious glance to the ladies^ on 
which they rise in a body; silks, satins, and 
muslins rustle into the passage, leaving the lords 
of creation to their walnuts and wine. 

The farewell flounce is scarcely conveyed in 
safety through the doorway, when Miss Lefroy 
begins to discuss the educational statistics of 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 129 

Scotland with Mrs. MacNab. Lady George is 
too deaf to hear without her ear-trumpet, so rests 
content in a large armchair, and allows her 
dinner to digest. The educational statistics of 
Scotland and the School Board have no attractions 
for Mrs. MacNab. What she likes is to relate 
all the peccadilloes and misdoings of her ser- 
vants during the last ten years, and to hear what 
wages are given by Mr. Lefroy and Lord George. 
Any other equally interesting domestic particulars 
are received by her with much relish. As for 
Lola and Jane MacNab, they are compelled to 
take refuge in looking over a number of pictures 
of Chinese scenery, brought home from Shanghai 
by Luke Mark. No man being in the room, 
Mrs. Napier does not trouble herself to open her 
pretty mouth. Napier^s White Witch, as the men 
of the Rifle Brigade had called Charity in India, 
well deserves the sobriquet. Charming as a girl, 
she has developed into a still more charming 
woman. To a complexion white and pure as the 
snow on Monte Rosa, she adds the contrast of 
miraculously-pencilled dark eyebrows. Yet there 
is not a really good feature in her face. Her eyes 
are not large nor remarkable for beauty of ex- 
pression or colour, still she contrives to make 
wonderful '' play^^ with them ; her mouth is some- 
what wide, but her lips are red as roses ; and no 

VOL. I. 9 



130 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

one looking at the fair, soft, babyish countenance, 
the silky, flaxen hair cut a la Vandyke over her 
forehead, and falling behind in a cascade of curls 
nearly to her waist, and the slim, tall, svelte figure 
— the admiration of every man and the envy of 
most of her own sex — could help saying, " What 
a sweet woman !" 

She is very popular among men, and is as 
much admired in Kilniddry shire now she is a 
wife as she was when a girl at Blackbeck House ; 
but she has anything but the love of women. 
Her manners are extremely pleasant, and she 
can talk on any subject from Colenso to bonnets, 
having a smattering of knowledge and "small 
talk " on the principal topics of the day. As 
she generally suits her conversation to the style 
of person to whom she is speaking, and has a 
peculiarly angelic way of giving forth her opinions 
as if asking for advice, it is not astonishing she 
should be a general favourite with men. Beyond 
herself, her dress, and flirtations, she is cased in 
triple brass. " Only herself^ might be her motto. 
For anything else she does not care so much as 
a straw; and if the husband who is devotedly 
attached to her died next week, her first thought 
would be. How shall I look in crape and that 
disfiguring widow^s cap ? Although she can 
" gush'' with the utmost enthusiasm on paintings 



BROWN AS A BERRY, 131 

and music, and philantliropic objects, that which 
really interests her, and alone gives her true and 
profound pleasure, is the study of a new shade 
for her dress, or a new fashion for arranging her 
hair. As she dresses to perfection, she may cer- 
tainly be congratulated upon have attained her 
end in fashionable life. 

The space of time during which the men are 
supposed to be talking of the legislation of the 
nation, the foreign policy of Britain, and other 
sensible subjects, is a very dull and slow period 
to the ladies boxed up in the drawing-room. 

It is impossible to get up much excitement 
over photograph albums filled with cartes of 
other people's friends whom you have never met, 
and most probably never will meet. So conver- 
sation is usually at a very low ebb until the 
arrival of the men. In the meantime scandal 
and idle gossip, with its attendant brilliant re- 
marks, form a substitute as a sort of stop-gap. 
This, indeed, is not always the case, especially 
when really clever women are met together ; but, 
as everybody knows, it is too generally the rule 
when the majority are only able to talk of persons, 
and not things. Liberty of speech should not be 
allowed to degenerate into unlimited license. 

Mrs. Napier lets her eyes travel slowly and 
languidly over Thyrza's face and figure. An 

9—3 



132 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

extremely plain girl^ and -uiifortunately awkward, 
is her decision. No style at all about her, and 
her complexion quite beneath criticism. 

" So you travelled with Jack/-* says Mrs. 
Napier, condescendingly. 

"Only part of the way. We crossed the 
Channel together.^^ 

" Is he handsome T' 

" Oh no.'' 

'^ What is he like, Miss Rutherfurd V 

" He has grey hair/' answers Thyrza, men- 
tioning the points in Terrier's face which have 
struck her most, " and blue eyes — they are grey 
in some lights. He has a black moustache, and 
he is very brown — browner even than I am." 

" Grey hair ! But he is quite a young man — 
scarcely thirty yet." 

" He does not look old in spite of the grey hair." 

'' What else ?" 

" He had on a light grey overcoat, and a hat 
which looked as if the crown had been often sat 
upon. That is all I noticed, excepting that he 
had a lot of parcels and big boxes." 

" And, Miss Rutherfurd," continues Mrs. 
Napier, suddenly recollecting Thyrza is Mark's 
protegee, and the girl proposed by him as gover- 
ness for her children — " you have been at 
school in Yillios.'''' 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 133 

'^ Yes." 

" Kh, I suppose you were considered the 
pattern girl of the school ?" 

'^ Indeed I was not/^ says Thyrza^ wondering 
why Miss Lefroy is giving her such odd little 
nods behind her spectacles. " I was considered 
the black sheep of the pension. The girls used 
to call me Beelzebub, and Beel for short, as it 
was rather long to say the whole name, because 
I was always up to some mischief." 

" My dear I" exclaims Miss Lefroy ; ^^ what 
sort of girls could they have been ?" 

" Some of them were awfully jolly, but others 
were such sneaks^ and told Miss Holt whenever 
we went over to the confectioner^s for macaroons 
or bonbons. We used to slip out through the 
garden by a little side gate to the shop, which 
was next door but one to M. PauPs, and on the 
same side as the Flying Dragon." 

" Were you found out ?" asks Mrs. Napier. 

" Well, once Miss Holt came into the shop 
while I was buying chocolate creams for a friend 
of mine. I had just time to dive under the 
counter and crawl to the other side on my hands 
and knees, where I lay in fear and trembling 
until she had gone. One of the girls told — 
mean thing ! and I got no dinner for two days. 
But that was a lon^ time ago," pursues Thyrza, 



134 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" I was only fourteen tlien^ and quite a little girl. 
I have been junior English teacher for a year." 

" It must have been a fine sort of teaching/^ 
says Mrs. Napier, in her soft cooing voice. 

" So it was ; I got on capitally. Sometimes 
we acted charades, and I always took the man's 
part. The last time Miss Holt was scandalized 
because one of the girls brought a suit of her 
brother's old sailor's clothes to school with her, 
and I put them on. I made such a good man ; 
the girls thought I looked much nicer with a 
moustache than without it, and I think so too. 
Miss Holt was so angry, for I put my hands in 
my trousers pockets, and strutted and swaggered, 
just as I have seen petit-creves do in Villios.-" 

'^ Come here, Miss Rutherfurd,'' beckons Miss 
Lefroy, as Luke Mark and the other men enter 
the drawing-room. " My dear,'' she goes on, in 
a low whisper — " my dear, do not say any more 
about moustaches and — and — Beelzebub !" 

" Ought I not to have said that ?" inquires 
Thyrza, horror-stricken and in the utmost con- 
sternation. '^ I did not know.. What shall I 
do ? Shall I say I did not know ?" 

" No, no ; that would only make it worse." 

" Do you take any interest in old china ?" 
asks Mr. Lefroy, briskly, rolling along the velvet- 
pile carpet. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 135 

^^ Well, yes ; it is a fact I do, Mr. Lefroy," 
says Thyrza. 

" Then you will appreciate the specimens I 
have gathered together. The Dresden ware I 
keep in this cabinet, which is all made of glass, 
shelves and sides, and mirrors at the back and 
below to reflect the figures. You will observe it 
has a very fine effect, and it is my own design, 
and you must know that my taste a leetle 
approaches perfection.^' 

Mr. Lefroy pauses to regard himself with 
infinite satisfaction in one of the gilt girandoles 
above the cabinet. 

" This plate, with the raised figures, is a piece 
of the celebrated Palissy ware. I can assure you 
it is rare, very rare, particularly rare. The 
dark-blue dish, with the gold enamel, is a speci- 
men of Limoges, still rarer. Now, the lace on 
this shepherdess's dress is beautifully done, and 
the roses in her hair are painted by hand. Dear 
me ! I was at considerable trouble and expense 
in bringing all these treasures safely to Lillies- 
hill. It requires a very fine eye, I can tell you, 
to distinguish between the real and imitation 
Dresden/' 

" If you are not too tired. Miss Rutherfurd, 
will you give us a little music ?" asks Mark. " Do 
you remember anything without the notes ?" 



136 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Then Mr. Lefroy sits down on an ottoman 
near the conservatory while Thyrza goes to the 
piano, and he reflects that everything has gone 
off capitally; the fish was done to a T and cut 
firm and clean; there was a little too much 
pepper in the sonp_, perhaps_, but otherwise it 
was excellent. The omelettes were tough as 
shoe-leather, that came of the dinner being 
later than usual. He must mind that another 
time. Inhere is a chance for Luke now, the 
MacNab girls will each have 20,000/. down 
when they marry. He will promise not to spoil 
sport. Why, he could have either of them to- 
morrow foi the mere asking, they are so awfully 
in love with him. That new port is really very 
inferior. He will send for the wine merchant's 
account and shut him up at once. Scarcely a 
drop of decent stuff to be had since Gladstone 
advocated cheap sherry. Showy-looking girls 
the MacNabs, but Mrs. Napier carries off the 
palm undeniably — can't hold a candle to her. 

Mrs. Napier is playing Bezique with Archie 
MacNab, and Lola and Mark are their oppo- 
nents. Without the least apparent effort, she 
has attracted the attention of the minister and 
Mr. MacNab to assist her in choosing what 
cards to throw away, and appeals to Mark to be 
told how much four kings count. " Bezique 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 137 

is such a frightfully intricate game, and she 
is so unfortunately stupid about recollecting 
numbers, she never can remember how much 
four kings count. '^ She puts her pretty 
elbows, round and smooth, from which the 
lace sleeves have slipped back, on to the 
mother- o'-pearl inlaid three-legged table, and 
glances up into Mr. Dods" face with an innocent 
abandon, which makes Lola marvel how it is Mrs. 
Napier always contrives to look so charming, 
and how is it her skirts hang like those in the 
fashion plates, and her attitudes resemble those 
in a picture. In all this there is art, but it is 
the perfection of art and acting, for everything 
Charity says and does is with calculation as to 
the effect it will produce on others, and although 
all is studied it appears simplicity and nature 
itself. 

Thyrza is at home at the piano ; she is a 
born musician, and Mr. Spindler has done his 
best to cultivate her talent. Her fingers ramble 
over the keys into Ascher^s San-Souci, and from 
that to a classical piece, a favourite of the old 
music master's, but thrown away upon the 
present audience. That style of music almost 
requires a special education to be appreciated, as 
game eaten high is not relished by the multi- 
tude. As she plays loud the conversation grows 



138 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

forte ; when she plays piano_, the voices sink to 
pianissimo. Music always exercises a peculiarly 
soothing effect on Thyrza. When angry, or 
vexed, or in a fit of the blues, she invariably 
derives consolation from her piano. It is as 
good as a pipe of extra excellent tobacco to an 
inveterate smoker who has not smoked for 
twenty-four hours. 

She has colours in her mind^s eye for the 
music of different composers. The Sonata Pas- 
sione with its broad glorious chords she calls 
deep crimson ; Beethoven in general is rich 
purple with dark Rembrandt shadows thrown 
across the brightness of melody. Certain com- 
positions of Schumann recall a sunset on a 
clear frosty night. Some of the old Masters 
twilight on a November evening, when the sun 
has gone behind the hills, and only a crimson 
glow remains in the sky with a single star shining 
out in the West. The wild despairing pathos of 
Schumann^s Manfred brings before her a picture 
of waves breaking on a lonely shore, with a dis- 
masted ship floating helplessly along at the mercy 
of the elements. A white rag of what has been 
a sail is still wrapped round the broken stump 
of the main-mast ; an immense wave, like a huge 
monster ready to devour the ill-fated vessel, is 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 139 

moving on towards it : there is no moon, only- 
dull dark banks of heaving clouds. 

Perhaps it is not astonishing that in her more 
dreamy moments, Thyrza^s head is filled with odd 
fancies which come and go at will. Circum- 
stances in early life mould the character to 
a great extent. In childhood we cannot fight 
against them, as we can do when older. Part 
of Thyrza"'s life has been very solitary. During 
the Midsummer and Christmas holidays she has 
always been left alone at the pension under the 
charge of an old woman called Mere Pantoufile, 
who with the assistance of another elderly indi- 
vidual cleaned the house during the absence of 
Miss Holt. 

So she had plenty of time for dreaming, sitting 
in the old tree among its apple blossoms near the 
slow- flowing river, playing solemn mass music 
in the sitting room in the firelight, with Mr. 
Spindler accompanying her on his violin. Saun- 
tering solitary through the chilly cloisters of the 
ancient convent where the nuns had paced up 
and down — did any thoughts of the world left 
outside, flit across their holy meditations? — looking 
out upon the gay fete-keepers at Christmas when 
each little peasant had his snug home to go to, 
while she was left to celebrate the festival with 



140 BROWN AS A BEKRY. 

Mere Pantouffle ; always longing to take licr share 
in the drama of life,, and always obliged to stand 
back a spectator, she has lived more in dreamland 
than in reality. 

As she finishes the classical piece^ Mrs. 
Napier's low replies to Mark, and her rippling 
laughter at his disappointment on losing his game, 
warn Thyrza she is at Lillieshill. 

" That^s a sweet little thing/^ says the 
minister, '' but I prefer something with more 
tune in it.^^ 

" Very nice, very nice,^^ comments Mr. Lefroy, 
struggling violently with a strong tendency to 
indulge in his usual after-dinner nap. " I will 
show you how to play it. In books, music, 
pictures, it is the style of a thing which is every- 
thing. Even an ugly woman, if she has but 
style, will make a great impression, when a 
pretty country bumpkin would never be looked at.^^ 

" Well, it^s a fact,"*"* responds Thyrza, demurely, 
her dark eyes flashing brilliantly, a contrast to 
the gravity of her countenance. 

'' Do you know any Scotch airs T' asks Mr. 
MacNab. " There^s more real melody and poetry 
in the ' Flowers o' the Forest,^ or the ^ Land o' 
the Leal,^ than in the finest operatic song.'' 

" A very heretical opinion,'"* answers Miss 
Lefroy, laughing ; " the German school of music 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 14] 

of which Miss Rutherfurd has just been giving 
us a specimen is all the fashion now/^ 

" I cannot be troubled with the German 
school/^ rejoins Mr. MacNab ; " I like the old- 
fashioned tunes best_, although I daresay it is not 
the thing J' 

Thyrza begins a selection of Scotch reels 
arranged by Mr. Spindler^ which she gives with 
such spirit that Mr. MacNab rocks up and 
down, keeping time with his feet ; in fact, he 
would snap his fingers, were not his w^ife casting 
wrathful glances of indignation at him. Mrs. 
MacNab is not proud of the low descent of her 
husband, and would fain send to the Heralds' 
ofi&ce for a crest and coat of arms, but MacNab, 
while not caring one whit who knows of his 
parentage, and having the good sense not to 
flourish it in every one^s face, will not allow his 
wife to do anything of the kind. So she has, 
perforce, to content herself with having mono- 
grams painted in divers shapes and forms all 
over Quentinshope. 

" Bravo ! bravo ! Miss Rutherfurd," cries 
Mr. MacNab, rising to wish Miss Lefroy good 
evening, the carriages having been brought 
round ; " I have not heard the like of that play- 
ing these twenty years. Will you be in this 
neighbourhood in the autumn T' 



142 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" I do not know/' returns Thyrza^ smiling. 

'^Because if you are^ you must come to our 
ball in October. It is to be given for Lola's 
coming of age.'' 

" Thanks, I am not sure, but if I am it will 
deligbt me extremely." 

" Miss Lefroy says you have some relations in 
Scotland,— Mr. Rutherfurd, of High Riggs. You'll 
be certain to stay with your grandfather ?" 

This is an awkward question, for old Mr. 
Eutherfurd has announced in plain terms he will 
have nothing to do with Thyrza. 

" I think not," she answers. 

"Ah, well, but if possible you must come. 
Archie there, is splendid at the Highland Fling." 

" Is that a Scotch song ? — is it pretty ?" in- 
quires Thyrza. 

" No," says Mr. MacNab, with a hearty laugh, 
" it's a Scotch dance. The autumn is a long 
while off yet, but if you are in Scotland you 
must dance the reel of Hoolachin with me. If 
you are not at Lillieshill, you will come and pay 
us a visit at Quentins, I hope, whenever we 
settle to have the ball. So it's a promise/' 



CHAPTER V. 

OES the sun annoy yon, Miss Thyrza?^^ 
asks Luke Mark. 



" No, not at all. I like to feel it shining on 
my face." 

" Ah, you see you have no wrinkles or crows 
feet to be revealed. What is it like to be sweet 
seventeen, and all one^s life before you?" 

" Very pleasant indeed, Mr. Mark. Seven- 
teen ! Why, I shall live thirty years, at any 
rate, yet. Fancy thirty whole years, in which 
some nice things must happen." 

" Would you mind moving a little more to 
the left?" he pursues, standing in a reflective 
attitude before his picture, his head thrown 
slightly back with a critical air, a pipe in his 
mouth, and his hands in his trousers pockets. 
He has established his easel and painting ap- 
paratus under the spreading branches of a fine 
old beech tree on the lawn near the house. 



144 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

It is a lovely June morning. The sun shines 
on the glittering dew still quivering like so many 
precious stones in the white and yellow ox-eyed 
daisies ; the blue, misty mountain peaks cutting 
the clear air asunder, and the beech leaves in the 
Lillieshill woods murmur to each other that this 
is the blessed summer time ; that next year they 
will lie dead, faded, sodden, and rotten under- 
foot ; so they will drink their fill of the sun 
while it shines, of the sweets of lilies and the 
bloom of roses, will laugh to the moon and 
glisten white in its beams; for say they, with 
the Pagans of old, " Let us eat, let us drink, for 
to-morrow we die." 

How sweet the air is, loaded with the 
perfume of lilacs and hawthorn flowers. The 
day is still young; the sun^s rays have not 
their full noonday strength yet, and can 
hardly penetrate through the dense overhanging 
leaves and branches in which a breeze creates 
a thousand simultaneous dissolving lights and 
shadows. 

On the mossy banks by the pond and the 
cascade the grasshoppers are clicking away 
among the speedwells and my lady's bedstraw, 
and little grey rabbits, with white scuds, rustle 
abruptly out of sight into the copsewood from 
a field of growing corn, in which, if the farmer 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 145 

discovered them, they know some leaden pellets 
would soon end their career. 

" I thought so ; the light is wrong. It should 
fall a little more on the left cheek, consequently, 
on this shoulder. I see now. A few more 
touches will just do it/' removing one hand 
from his trousers-pocket. He then takes up his 
mahl-stick, and raising it to a level with his eyes, 
shuts one, and, to the uninitiated observer, 
squints ferociously. 

The picture is a portrait of Thyrza, repre- 
senting her in a red gipsy-cloak, holding a 
basket of flowers in her hand. Behind are trees 
and an ancient stone balustrade, through the 
bars of which shine the waters of a brook. The 
stag-like eyes, with a pensive dreamy look in 
them, are almost too wild for beauty ; they seem 
to require taming ; but they give one an idea of 
possessing a wonderful power of expression and 
feeling in their hazel depths. The complexion is 
olive, the mouth rather pouting, the nose delicate 
and not very determined in shape, the brow 
low and wide, from which the dark brown hair 
grows back in rippling undulations and rich 
heavy masses. Originally Mark had sketched in 
a flower-girl, dressed in white and rose coloured 
satin, with a necklace of pearls and a white 
embroidered handkerchief tied loosely under her 

VOL. I. 10 



146 BROWN AS A BEERY. 

cliin. However^ finding the fit of the body 
troublesome^, he gave it up, and retaining the 
former attitude^ painted out the bodice^ drawing 
in Thyrza^s face and cloak instead. 

'' WeVe an hour to ourselves/' continues 
Mark. " Uncle Eichard is safe until breakfast.'^ 

" What is he doing ?" 

" Exercising the turtle^ and after that he is 
going to blow up the under-gardener ; I don't 
know what about. I am afraid I shall be 
obliged to rub out the face with turpentine. 
The eyes don't do at all. They are too far 
apart by the eighth of an inch." 

" Oh;, I hope not/' says Thyrza. 

In her secret soul she is not partial to 
" sitting/' and regards the picture as intermin- 
able,, Mark having a habit of painting right out 
one day the labour of weeks. 

" Oh, they are quite wrong. However, I can 
easily alter them." 

" When do you think it will be finished ?" 

" Oh, some time or other/' he replies, in- 
definitely. " I shall come to Carmylie and get 
a sitting there occasionally, and by-and-by, I 
dare say, Mrs. Napier will allow you to come 
over to Lillieshill from Saturday until Monday. 
This is only the first painting. I wish I had 
the eyes right. After all, I don't believe there 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 147 

is mucli wrong with them. Be a bore to alter 
them, and then find they had been right at first. 
Don^t look quite so serious ; it gives a disagree- 
able expression to the corners of the mouth. 
Try to smile.'' 

Thyrza breaks into a merry laugh. Mark is 
the least thing in the world provoked. 

" Oh, Mr. Mark, I shall be grave directly ; 
but I do so want to laugh when I see you 
looking so solemnly at me and measuring, just 
as if I was somebody not real, you know. It is 
so ridiculous.'' 

"Try again,'' says Mark, good-humouredly. 
" I am not quite certain about the proportions. 
I want to measure your face, and you may laugh 
as much as you like while I do that." 

He takes a letter from his pocket and mea- 
sures the length of Thyrza's face. It divides 
exactly into three parts from the forehead to the 
chin. Near the porch on the sweep is a figure 
of a fat man in light summer attire. Mr. 
Lefroy is waddling along to Mark with the 
utmost haste. Being very stout and rotund, 
it occupies him several minutes to traverse the 
distance of fifty yards. 

" Now keep grave this time," pursues Mark. 

A lively wasp flies near Thyrza, coming 
unpleasantly close to her face. She stands 

10— i 



148 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

patiently, not venturing to move, and ap- 
peals to Mark. He gets up from his camp- 
stool, pursues the wasp enthusiastically with his 
pocket-handkerchief, and seats himself, when it 
returns, buzzing irritatingly in close proximity 
with his aquiline nose, on which it manifests 
a decided intention to crawl. 

" Bother that brute V he exclaims, having 
again routed the enemy and once more settled 
himself with his palette on his thumb and picked 
up the right brush for painting skin and not that 
for laying on masses of colour. " Co?^found it ! 
That^s the nuisance of summer ! One can^t sit 
outside for a minute without being surrounded 
by a flying host. What^s become of the smooth- 
ing brush and the little palette knife ? I believe 
I've upset the megilp. No I haven^t. I am 
going to sketch in the arm, so will you put down 
that piece of paper and hold the basket for the 
attitude of the elbow ? Don't move for the life 
of you. I will see about the paper.''' 

" And do tell me whose likeness is on the 
paper, Mr. Mark. Tve wanted to know ever 
since I came here. I found it in my box the 
night of my arrival.'' 

Suiting the action to the word, he moves 
away the drawing. It has hitherto been turned 
with the blank side upwards ; now it is reversed. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 149 

and tlie woman's face Thyrza had admired looks 
up at him. 

" Good God !" he cries_, recoiling back several 
steps and becoming ashy white. " My wife V 

" What is the matter^ Mr. Mark T' exclaims 
Thyrza^ oblivious of the position that has taken 
so much time in arranging^ and letting the 
basket fall to the ground. " Oh_, don^t tear it 
up. Are you really a married man ? You don^t 
look in the least as if you were.'^ 

" Why ? Are there particular signs which 
denote a married man T' says he. 

" Oh, I thought people looked much graver 
and older when they were married.'''' 

"Now, Miss Thyrza, no one knows I have a 
wife excepting that lady herself, her unlucky 
husband, and the man who read the service 
for us.'' 

" Not even Mr. Ferrier V 

" No, I should think Jack did not know,'' he 
answers almost fiercely. 

" But I thought he was your greatest friend," 
stammers Thyrza. 

" So he is. But it is not convenient to let 
even your best friend into the whole of your 
secrets. However, you must not laugh when 
you hear aunt or uncle talking of my future 
marriage, and so on." 



150 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

« No ''—hesitatingly. 

" In short, I wish you to keep the knowledge 
of my wife a secret. It cannot touch or hurt 
you in any way, or I would not ask it. All you 
have to do is simply to say nothing.'" 

Mr. Lefroy hearing down upon them within a 
couple of yards prevents Thyrza from heing able 
to do more than give a hasty answer in the 
affirmative. 

" Oh, Luke, I can hardly speak of it/' says 
Mr. Lefroy, mournfully — '' that idiot of a Jen- 
kins !" 

" Has Europa sprained her \q^, or is Jupiter 
off his feet?" 

" The turtle which was getting on so nicely ! 
I had the poor dear thing out to exercise a little 
by the pond, and left Jenkins in charge while I 
went up to the gardens to see how the tomatoes 
are getting on, and when I came back it was 
gone. Actually gone ! I shall have the pond 
dragged, but I shall never see it again. And to 
think what fine soup it would have made ! 
I really think, Luke," continues Mr. Lefroy, 
plaintively, " I really think the severe loss 
will have a great effect on my health for some- 
time." 

" You should have the pond dragged." 

" I shall ; but the turtle is lost for ever. The 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 151 

largest one I ever saw alive in this country. 
Ah ! how is the portrait progressing ? Let me 
put a few touches in that corner to show you 
the sort of thing it wants.^' 

" Oh ! don't trouble/' rejoins Mark, hastily. 
" I know what you mean.'' 

'' You can't until I have shown you/' pursues 
Mr. Lefroy. Every one considers himself at 
liberty to criticise the production of an amateur. 
Even a person who can scarcely distinguish an 
oil painting from a water colour will have no 
scruple in pronouncing judgment upon the un- 
fortunate amateur. " There is something queer 
about the eyes. Don't you think there is a 
slight cast in one ?" 

Mr. Lefroy seizes hold of the palette and 
mixes some colours, preparing to execute his 
improvements, when the gong sounds for break- 
fast. 

" What is the thermometer to-day ?" Mark 
asks adroitly, as they draw near the house. 

*' Bless me ! bless me ! I had forgotten to 
look. What a lucky thing you reminded me/' 
and he trots off to the tree in which the ther- 
mometer is fastened. 

" Then I can rely upon you ?" says Mark to 
Thyrza, while entering the dining-room where 
M iss Lefroy is waiting, and she replies quickly — 



152 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Yes, you can/^ 

A breakfast table in a Scoteb country house 
is one of the pleasantest sights possible belonging 
to the material senses. How picturesque to the 
hungry eye is the dish of trout,, fried in butter 
and oatmeal ; the snowy scones laid in damask 
napkins ; the golden marmalade and heather- 
honey ; the crisp oatcakes ; the abundant choice 
of various sweets ; and later on^ the cold grouse 
or capercailzie; while added to all this the 
steamy scent of coffee or chocolate breathes an 
agreeable invitation to begin ! 

The sun streams brightly through the French 
windows and half closed persiennes on to the 
white cloth, silver hissing tea-urn, and a ^' bit " 
of rich colouring by Meissonier on the wall. 
Miss Lefroy^s peacocks, impatient for their break- 
fast, come and tap on the panes to remind her 
time is on the wing, and that they are on the 
look out for their breadcrumbs. At Lillieshill, 
the custom is to open the post-bag before 
breakfast, and arrange the letters for each 
person in a little heap at the side of his plate. 
Whether this be a good plan or not, it is the 
regular system. 

Some visitors, stronger minded than others, 
exercised sufficient self-control, after turning 
over their epistle to ascertain the post-mark — 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 153 

an instinct common with every one — to place the 
document in their pockets, thus enabling them 
to eat their breakfasts with a good digestion and 
quiet pulse. 

There is a large pile awaiting Mark,, on which 
Miss Lefroy comments playfully. 

" What a pretty monogram there is on one of 
your letters, Luke. You have got quite a 
general post-office to-day .''' 

" Do you want the monogram for some of the 
girls who are collecting crests T' he returns, 
opening a letter nonchalantly and tearing off 
the purple and silver monogram for Miss 
Lefroy. 

^' Thanks. What is the name ? Luke, 
Louisa ; no, it is none of those. One can 
never make head or tail of these unintelligible 
twists and curves. This might be Greek or 
Hebrew, or Chinese, for any word that can be 
deciphered.^^ 

" Lilith,''^ answers Mark, placidly. ^' She is 
a friend of mine in London, and wants me to 
get her one of those Skye terriers without be- 
ginning or end. I am to telegraph immediately 
from Queensmuir as to when I think I can 
obtain it. Mrs. Temple will probably kill it 
with kindness for a month, and then it will be 
discarded for some newer attraction.^^ 



154 BEOWN AS A BERRY. 



" What was the height of the thermometer, 
Richard ?' 

" Sixty-five in the shade. The cook is getting 
very careless about the cutlets, and the coifee is 
not fit to drink/'' 

" You had better s^Dcak to her/-' 

^'1 shall when I order the dinner/'' 

Mr. Lefroy is very emphatic on the subject, 
and to hear him speak one would think him the 
greatest autocrat that ever lived, whereas the 
mistress of the kitchen who ministers to his 
epicurean tastes rules him with a rod of iron, 
and is in reality the head of the house. 

'' I am thinking of going to Queensmuir 
immediately/^ says Mark, rising from the table. 
^' If any one has any commands I shall be happy 
to fulfil them.'' 

" My box of after-dinner pills is finished, 
Luke. You can tell the chemist to make up 
another dozen. Should recommend you to try 
them. Composition of my own. The chemist 
said he had never seen anything like the pre- 
scription." 

" Then I am off," rejoins Mark. " Have not 
you got any shades of wool that want match- 
ing for that voluminous sofa blanket you are 
working for a Sandwich Island chief, Aunt 
Fanny ?' 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 155 

" Don't be irreverent, Luke. It^s going to 
be sold for the S. P. G. But even if I did 
want any worsted you would never match the 

'' Don''t forget the pills, Luke/^ calls out Mr. 
Lefroy, as Mark leaves the room on his way to 
the stables. 

" What would you like to do to-day, Thyrza V 
Miss Lefroy has arrived at the familiarity of 
Thyrza''s Christian name. " Have a ride, dear ? 
I must call on Lord and Lady George Boggs. 
That would be no amusement to you, they are 
both so deaf, and talking for an hour through an 
ear-trumpet is very exhausting. Do you know 
' Tupper's Proverbial Philosophy T " 

" No,'' says Thyrza. 

" There is such capital advice in it about 
matrimony. It advises all girls to pray for a 
good husband, and whether they get him or not 
it can do the man no harm and most likely will 
benefit him. A good husband is the best pre- 
sent a girl can have ; it is better than money, 
better than good looks, better than cleverness. 
There is a mate born for every one.'' 

" Then what became of yours ?" asks Thyrza. 
" Oh, I beg " 

" He must have died in the cradle, for he did 
not come up to time, you see," returns Miss 



156 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Lefroy^ not in tlie least offended. ^' However, I 
hope yours has not shared the same misfortune. 
It is a dreary life to be a governess, always 
among little children.^' 

^^ Horrid pests," says Thyrza. 

" Oh, I like children ; but it must be tire- 
some teaching them, unless you have a born love 
of teaching implanted in you. You are a nice 
little girl, I have taken a fancy to you, and I 
hope you will spend your holidays at Lillieshill. 
But I think you are right in going to work at 
Carmylie ; it is preferable to being dependent on 
your relations, and Luke is still rather young to 
have a ward of your age. Well, dear, go and 
put on your habit and be back in time for lunch, 
if you can." 

Then Mr. Lefroy says grace and departs to 
the kitchen to deliver his opinions on the subject 
of the cutlets to the housekeeper, and consult 
with her concerning the great event of the day 
— dinner; and Miss Lefroy, wearing an enor- 
mous slop-basin hat, which swallows up her 
small thin face, comes out of the conservatory 
with a plate of breadcrumbs for the pet pea- 
cocks. She watches Thyrza, in an old dark blue 
habit, formerly Miss Lcfroy^s, canter down the 
avenue, and then, feeling a little sad with the 
thought of the vanished time when she herself was 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 157 

young and lighthearted as the girl rider^, she turns 
to caress the peacocks standing round her picking 
up the crumbs,, after which she goes to clip the 
dead leaves and withered flowers from her plants. 
She takes no part in the housekeeping, Mr. 
Lefroy transacts everything connected with it 
himself, thereby sparing his sister a great amount 
of work and annoyance. 

No go-between — on the important matter of 
eating — would content Mr. Lefroy. This settled, 
Mr. Lefroy walks round his Home Farm, talks 
to his grieve (farm bailiff), looks at the turnips ; 
thinks the editor of the KUniddryshire Adver- 
tiser is a smart pushing fellow, quite took his 
view of that case. Shall ask him to Lillieshill 
for a couple of days^ partridge shooting in the 
autumn ; comes home to lunch ; drives into the 
country ; criticises his flowers and grapes ; has 
afternoon tea ; writes letters ; dinner ; has a 
nap, snores ; protests " Fanny always thinks he 
is asleep, if he closes his eyes for two seconds, 
when on the contrary he was just thinking of a 
patent swivel -" has cofi*ee, reads The Field and 
The Times, and is sure he knows better than 
" that correspondent,^^ and goes to bed convinced 
there are not many more enlightened men in 
the world than himself. 

Luke Mark drives into Queensmuir, and puts up 



158 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

at tlie Carmylie Arms inn. The Queensmuirians 
stare at him in wonder and great admiration, as 
though they had never beheld a human being before. 

Queensmuir is a little manufacturing town, 
not unlike Villios in its narrow, ill paved, and 
worst lighted winding streets, with odd unex- 
pected corners, and " wynds^^ or " closes,^^ up 
which the wind blows when apparently there is 
none anywhere else. 

It is irregularly built; some of the houses 
being several stories high, and others short and 
low, as if they had received a knock on the 
head, preventing their further growth. 

Hills, blue as the Franconian range of which 
the Transatlantic poet sings so sweetly, surround 
Queensmuir on all sides. 

Excepting from the west end it is impossible 
to enter the town, unless by ascending or de- 
scending rising ground. 

In winter and when the roads are bad, which 
happens whenever there is a rainy day, the 
weather acting the parts of road maker and 
scavenger, this last mentioned feature in the land- 
scape is a consideration. 

Things never having been different in Queens- 
muir, no one remonstrates. 

The discontent with the state of existing cir- 
cumstances evaporates in a hearty fit of grum- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 159 

bling, when the time comes for paying the road 
assessments. 

Besides^ nothing can be done in Queensmuir 
without the consent of the Baron Bailie, whose 
ideas on all subjects by no means tally with 
those of the Queensmuirians. They may fret 
and fume as they like, explode in wrath in 
letters to the Kilniddry shire Advertiser , to 
ventilate their troubles according to the gene- 
ral custom when any one has a grievance, but the 
Bailie holds his own, and administers his autho- 
rity after his own lights, in defiance of the com- 
bined strength of the whole Parochial Board. 

A great deal of business is transacted in 
Queensmuir, it being the terminus town for a 
pretty extensive distinct of glen and hill country. 
Of competition there is none ; two butchers 
rule the roast, and determine the price of beef 
for a population of upwards of 4000 inhabitants. 
There is only one house-painter, and other trades 
are represented in proportion. The shopkeepers, 
having their regular customers, and knowing 
the next town, Middleby, to be at an incon- 
venient distance for those persons living in the 
country, are thoroughly independent. They 
will receive your money if you choose to pa- 
tronize them with your custom, but if you like 
to transfer it elsewhere, you are at perfect 



160 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

liberty to do so^ and they will not exert them- 
selves in any way to retain it. 

Society^ properly so called, does not exist, 
Queensmuir being split up into numerous petty 
factions, owing to internal disputes, and only 
two families on an average in tbe place, are on 
speaking terms with the whole community. 

Marriages are, on the whole, numerous among 
the lower classes; the new year and the terms 
Whitsuntide and Martinmas being the favourite 
times of the year, but there is a deadlock among 
the young ladies from lack of suitors, their equals 
in rank, and the majority of them stand an excel- 
lent chance of becoming old maids, unless some 
•wave of good fortune should bring into Queensmuir 
a small army of clerks, ministers, and others with 
salaries varying from two to three hundred a year, 
and each, like C celebs, in search of a wife. 

Such an advent would be hailed with pleasure 
by the fathers and brothers, who do not admire 
the foreboding that their daughters and sisters 
will probably remain on their hands altogether, 
for, whatever may be said to the contrary, the 
men of the family are never averse to see their 
unattached feminine belongings enter into the 
longed for Canaan of matrimony. 

In Queensmuir there are ten kirks, not count- 
ing the Episcopal Church, and also four banks, 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 161 

from wliicli it may be inferred that the souls and 
purses alike of the lieges of the burgh are well 
taken care of. 

A Town House, lately renovated and beauti- 
fied, adorns the High Street, and a large gilt 
salamander or dragon looks down from the 
parish kirk steeple over the worthy burghers. 
S. Bridget is the patron saint. 

It probably is not the correct thing for all 
towns to have patron saints. Be this as it may, 
Queensmuir boasts one — a relic, no doubt, of the 
'^ Pope, that Pagan full of pride,''"' the mere 
mention of whom is sufficient to make many 
Queensmuirians feel as uncomfortable as though the 
" Great Sooty Original,'"' horns and all, were visible 
among them. But S. Bridget is not so much 
reverenced as the stronger spirit, S. Whisky; 
people in general seeming to prefer the tangible 
and concrete substance to the abstract and unseen. 

Many superstitions still linger in Queensmuir. 
Hallowe^en is observed, old style, when the 
gardens of the bachelors in the vicinity of the 
town are pillaged by the unmarried women for 
kale stocks^ Anglice, plants of kale. They must 
be gathered in the dark, and are placed behind 
the doors of their houses, when the first man 
who comes in the morning will, it is supposed, 
be the future husband. 

VOL. I. 11 



162 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

The crowino: of a cock at tintinieous hours is 
firmly regarded as an omen of death or mis- 
fortune, also the howling of a dog at night ; 
and a brood of chickens which turn out all hens 
is considered very unlucky. 

The Queensmuirians look down with pa- 
tronizing contempt on the dwellers in the glens 
as " country bodies wha ken naething/^ and the 
country bodies think Queensmuir an amazingly 
large city. 

Instead of going to the post-office, which is 
kept by an old shopkeeper of a pious turn of 
mind and a remarkable shortness of temper — 
two attributes that not unfrequently accompany 
each other — Mark wends his way to one of the 
four banks. Probably he intends despatching 
his telegram about the Skye terrier afterwards. 
This bank, called the British Jute Company, is a 
square, dingy, dirty- grey house, fronting the 
High Street and the Town House. It is the 
essence of neatness and respectability within and 
without. Woe betide the hapless spider who 
spins its web in Mrs. Hislop^s dining or drawing- 
room cornice ! woe to the unfortunate domestic 
who should venture to take an extra half hour in 
bed on washing morning ! and woe to that indi- 
vidual who should mar the spotless expanse of 



BEOWN AS A BERRY. 163 

the clean doorstep by forgetting to scrape the 
mud of Queensmuir off his feet ! 

Mr. Hislop, the banker, is considered more in 
the light of a friend and confidential adviser of 
the Lillieshill family than as a mere man of 
business. Besides being a banker, he is also a 
'^ writer'^ or lawyer, and conducts the cases 
under the Sheriff in the Small Debt Courts, held 
in the Town House every month. In appear- 
ance he is not unlike a penguin, with pale blue 
eyes, and is fast growing ponderous in corpora- 
tion. Most of the county families bank at the 
B. J. C, and more than half of them employ 
Mr. Hislop as their factor. In consequence of 
this, Mr. Hislop is disposed to regard the county 
families as men and women very superior indeed 
to the class of which he himself forms a worthy 
member. He is asked out to dinner once or 
twice every year at the best houses, where he 
enjoys a good dinner with good wine. And at 
those places at which he is rather a favourite, he 
is generally invited over for some days* shooting 
in the autumn. 

All this is greatly relished by his bustling, 
sharp-tempered, warm-hearted wife. When Mrs. 
Hislop has dined at Lillieshill, she usually has a 
party a few evenings afterwards, at which she 

11—2 



164 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

amuses her friends and neighbours by quoting 
secondhand the sayings and doings of old Lord 
and Lady George Bogg, thus impressing the 
Queensmuirians with a sense of her importance 
and intimacy with the " upper ten^^ of the county. 
Mr. and Mrs. Hislop have two sons and a 
daughter — Tertius^ Tom^ and Robertina. The 
former is intended to follow in his father's foot- 
steps^ while Tom is to be a medical man. At 
present he is employed in his father's bank as 
clerkj and a nice time Mr. Jardine^ the ac- 
countant^ has in making him do his w^ork^ Tom 
being much more inclined to drawing caricatures 
in the bank books and play tricks, than add up 
columns of figures and estimate the rate of dis- 
count. The Miss MacNabs, in a pony carriage 
from Long Acre_, and a diminutive tiger perched 
behind^ have just driven across the High Street, 
attended by sundry admiring urchins,, who are 
holding on in the background, when they pull up 
to speak to Mr. Dods. 

" Tertius, the MacNabs are talking to Cousin 
James/' says Tom, stopping in the middle of a 
declaration he is writing out for Mr. Hislop, to 
step down from his three-legged stool and look 
through the black wire blinds that have been 
put up to prevent the clerks from gazing out 
and the Queensmuirians from staring in. 



BEOWN AS A BERRY. 165 

'^ Is Mr. Hislop at home T' asks Mark, push- 
ing back the red baize swing doors, and entering 
the bank. 

A shock head of light brown hair, a pair of 
blue eyes speckled with black spots, and a very 
small nose, which constitute the chief traits in 
Tom Hislop's physiognomy, is turned round for 
Mark^s observation, from his post. Tom has ex- 
pected to see Mr. Jardine, and is not disap- 
pointed to behold instead Mark^s pleasant, good- 
looking face. 

" Yes, he is.'' 

'' I want to speak to him,'' pursues Mark. 

Mr. Hislop is sitting in his private room 
talking over some business matters with Mr. 
Jardine. He rises on hearing Mark wishes to 
see him, and the accountant goes out into the 
bank. 

"All well at Lillieshill, I hope?" says Mr. 
Hislop. " Mr. Lefroy is thinking of sending his 
cattle to Battersea soon, I believe ?" 

" Oh yes ; all well." Then Mark hesitates a 
little. 

" The roads really pretty fair ?" observes Mr. 
Hislop. 

" Yes, I did not notice ; I suppose they are." 

Mark appears to find some difficulty in ex- 
plaining himself. Mr. Hislop does not know 



166 BKOWN AS A BEREY. 

how to assist him. He wishes his wife were 
here. Helena is always capital in an emergency 
of this kind. 

" I want you to transact a little business for 
me/^ begins Mark. " I need hardly say I have 
known you so long^ Mr. Hislop, that I can 
depend upon it being strictly between ourselves^ 
and going no further.^-' 

Mr. Hislop peers cautiously round him^ sees 
that the door is slightly ajar^ closes it softly, and 
says — 

" Mr. Mark, if it is within the power of mortal 
man I will do what I can. You may trust 
me.^^ 

This is with a reservation. If Mrs. Hislop 
has not seen Mark in Queensmuir, she will ask 
no inconvenient questions ; but if she becomes 
aware of the fact, then Mr. Hislop knows she 
will persecute him at night until, from sheer 
weariness, he may be induced to answer her, 
and partially reveal the truth. Mr. Hislop likes 
his night's rest, and, if possible, wishes to serve 
his client also. But what can be the business ? 
Can Mark have failed and lost his money ? Or 
does he want to buy shares in some company, 
or in the cargo of a merchant vessel ? Mr. 
Hislop not long ago realized a comfortable sum 
by sending out salt to a country unprovided 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 167 

witli that condiment. Or has Mark come to 
inquire about a shooting, or to rent a house in 
the neighbourhood ? 

" A friend of mine who has made an unfortu- 
nate marriage, and does not wish his name to 
appear in the transaction, has commissioned me 
to act for him in this case,'^ says Mark, a bril- 
liant inspiration seizing him to represent himself 
by an imaginary friend ; " I thought I could 
not apply to a better person than yourself. My 
friend has, therefore, asked me to lend him a 
hundred pounds in the meantime, which he will 
repay me through his London bankers. He in- 
tends to pay his wife two hundred pounds per 
quarter.^' 

" Yes,^^ says Mr. Hislop. " You are confident 
of your friend''s good faith V^ 

He is astonished, but he gives no sign of 
amazement. The friend seems rather a doubtful 
reality. In his own experience of men, he has 
invariably found that it was " every one for him- 
self, and let the weakest go to the wall.^^ Mark^'s 
ready compliance to lend money to his friend is 
incomprehensible. To the hard-headed, shrewd 
Scotchman it is inexplicable. He judges others 
by himself, and is certain he would not have 
done so. But Mark has mentioned that the 
money is for a woman, which to Mr. Hislop's 



168 BROWN AS A BERET. 

mind explains everything. People have always 
a motive for their actions, and probably Mark's 
is to oblige the lady. 

" Most decidedly I have confidence in my 
friend. ^^ 

" I presume he and his wife are separated 
from each other T' goes on Mr. Hislop. 

" Yes, they are/' rejoins Mark. " I am ont of 
a cheqne-book at present ; I shonld like to send 
the first cheque by this post. On the 30th of 
this month will yon despatch the two hundred 
pounds V 

" Will you favour me with the name of the 
party to whom the cheque is payable T' 

" Lilith Dawson," writes Mark. 

" I fear that is a bad pen, Mr. Mark,'' inter- 
rupted Mr. Hislop. " I use fine-pointed pens, 
but perhaps you prefer a broader point." 

" I like a quill in general,'' says Mark, writing 
the address for Mr. Hislop with a quill, and 
blotting the paper on a new blotting-pad. " It 
may be as well to scrawl a few lines to my friend 
to let him know I have done as he wished." 

" Very true, Mr. Mark." Understanding from 
Mark's manner that he does not care to be 
further interrogated on the subject of this fin end 
who is separated from his wife. He has already 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 169 

decided that Mark must be acquainted with her, 
or else the friend must pay heavy interest for the 
loan. It is highly improbable a business man 
would lend money on any other terms. Then 
Mark has brought no papers about it. There 
ought to have been some sort of an agreement 
surely ? However, he ought to know his own 
afif'airs best. Still, as an old friend of Mark^s, he 
must utter one more protest. 

" Mr. Mark, I trust your friend's finances are 
all right. Your good nature should not lead 
you into trouble. One of the nicest and most 
promising young men I ever knew was ruined 
by being surety for a friend." 

" Have I not told you, Mr. Hislop, that I 
shall get it back again T' answers Mark, folding 
up the letter he has written to his wife, and 
placing the cheque inside the paper in the en- 
velope, directed with the broad quill charged 
very full with ink. " I have written the cheque 
for June 30th — I mean, filled in the name of the 
lady for you." 

" Although your friend^s name is not to 
appear, have you any objection to yours? 
When I send the money, shall I say, ' To 
Lilith Dawson, from Luke Mark ?' " 

" It will not signify about my name. She 



170 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

■will suppose I have something to do with the 
lawyer/^ he replies_, drying the envelope on the 
blotting-pad. 

Mr. Hislop often takes his county visitors 
upstairs to have a glass of wine and a biscuit ; 
but he does not ask Mark to-day. He knows 
all the skeletons and secret histories of nearly 
every family in Kilniddryshire, and he wishes he 
could see the lady to whom such a liberal allow- 
ance is made. He would lay a heavy odds that 
she is handsome. While he is in the short 
passage leading from the Bank front door to the 
stairs, the accountant, having left his pencil 
in Mr. Hislop^s private room, returns for it. 
The blotting-pad is lying wide open, and the 
direction has been clearly impressed. With a 
very little trouble, Mr. Jardine manages to de- 
cipher it. He does not remain much longer than 
to look at the direction and pick up his pencil. 

When Mr. Hislop is once more seated in his 
room, he draws his table towards him and 
glances over the writing-case. Like the ac- 
countant, his eye is attracted by the black 
direction on the white blotting-pad — 
"Madame Dawson, 

'' Place, 

" Bays water, 

" London, W\/' 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 



171 



he reads. " He said he wrote to his friend,^' 
he exclaims, settling his thumbs in his waistcoat. 
" He wrote to the woman. The friend does not 
exist. I knew he did not from 
ning.''^ 



the begin- 




CHAPTER VI. 



HE day has fulfilled tlie most sanguine ex- 
pectations of its fineness^ which is more 
than can be said for the generality of earthly an- 
ticipations. It is nearly two o'clock _, the hour at 
which Mr. Lefroy lunches and waits for neither 
man nor woman, be he or she prince or princess. 
The soup or the entrees might spoil if not served 
at the exact moment, and to a gourmand like Mr. 
Lefroy, this misfortune would certainly trouble 
his dreams or render his pillow a sleepless one. 

About a mile and a half from Lillieshill is an 
old bridge called the Bridge of Bogg. It is an 
ancient structure, very narrow, and only ad- 
mitting of one carriage or cart crossing at the 
same time. It is built of greystone, and consists 
of a single pointed arch, having a kelpie's"^ head 
graven on each side above the date of erection, 
and the coronet and coat-of-arms of the baron at 
whose expense it was there placed. 



* A kelpie is a water sprite. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 173 

Near the bridge is a mill^ broad-eaved, 
thatched roof, and grey with age. Over it 
some pigeons, with coral feet and glossy breasts, 
are flying, while others sit on the chimney-top, 
pluming themselves. The burn, after turning 
the great black lichen-grown wheel, tumbles 
precipitously down to the Bogg, the sunbeams 
glinting into prismatic colours as the water leaps 
from one wide spoke to another. 

In the doorway stands the miller enveloped in 
a cloud of dust, wherein the light makes golden 
ladders : woodbine climbs, trained on lines of 
string, round the casement window ; a row of 
gorgeous dwarf sunflowers grow in front, stacks 
of peat and unhewn pine logs are piled against 
the wall, close to which a cart is propped up. 
From the shafts a man, who is talking to the 
miller, has just unloosened a black Flanders 
horse ; its mane and tail are carefully plaited 
and ornamented with gay ribbons. On the 
threshold a large collie dog, tawny of muzzle 
and sleek of coat, sleeps in an attitude of perfect 
ease and repose; hens with variegated feathers 
and scarlet combs cluck to downy chickens, 
scratching among the little flower-beds, to the 
serious injury of the double red daisies and pan- 
sies : the song of a canary from its cage comes 
loudly through the unclosed door. 



174 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

On the brae-side the broom is out in a glory 
of living splendour^ extending far up the steep, 
sandy scour, where pink spikes of foxglove blow 
and rabbits have their warrens, and martens bore 
nests, making even the hanging grape-like 
blossoms of the laburnums pale and faint before 
the dazzling magnificence of the golden ocean. 
Tall ash trees, their plumy leaves fresh from the 
black buds, rear their branches towards heaven 
wreathed with a tangled network of graceful ivy, 
silver-barked beeches, gnarled wych elms, and 
rowans crowned with " blossom-balls^^ of foam 
meet in wild confusion above ; while down by 
the clear amber waters of the Bogg, flowing over 
the russet sandstone rocks, grow bushes of red- 
and- white dog-roses, clumps of meadow-sweet, 
cuckoo flowers, and yellow arum lilies. 

In a meadow hard by, cattle graze up to their 
fetlocks in luxuriant pasturage, sprinkled with 
fragrant clover and starred with daisies and 
buttercups. Brown ridges of moorland, which a 
few months further on will be flushed with 
purple heather, flanked by belts of woodland and 
strips of cornfields, and an occasional cottage or 
farmstead, rise in undulations above the brae. 

Seated on the parapet of the bridge is Thyrza. 
Her hat is on her lap, and she is fastening some 
sprays of golden broom in the front of it. Her 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 175 

pony feeds on a juicy bit of grass sticking out 
from the stones in the bridge, and its reins are 
thrown over her right arm. She finishes her 
task, and picking up stone after stone, throws 
them down into the water, watching the splash 
they make, and amused by the flop caused by 
their striking the water. 

A man in a suit of light tweed and a white 
hat, with a large puggeree placed well on the back 
of his head, comes slowly down the brae. Be- 
hind him is a small shaggy dog, long bodied, 
short legged, a mass of hair like an animated 
muff. Thyrza, roused from her reverie by the 
sound of Ferrier^s tread on the dusty road, turns 
round. 

" Well, mademoiselle, how has the world been 
using you since I last saw you T^ he asks, sitting 
down beside her on the mossy rain-worn parapet. 

^' Oh, very kindly, monsieur,^^ she replies. 

"Does Mark let you ride about the country 
without an escort ?" 

" No, the groom was with me, but coming 
home his horse cast a shoe, and he stayed 
behind at the blacksmith^s to have it put on.^-' 

" And what do you do with yourself all day ?" 

^^ Nothing but sleep, eat, drink, and so on. 
Mr. Mark is paintiug a picture of me, and I 
usually sit for it every morning." 



176 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

"You have got on pretty well^ considering 
you have only been a month at Lillieshill. Is 
Mark at home ?'' 

" He was not when I set off for my ride, 
but I should think he will be on my re- 
turn/' 

"And you like Lillieshill better than the 
pension .?" 

" Oh; there is no comparison/' 

" But you must have had friends there ! 
Girls are gregarious ; they always form gushing 
attachments and write long letters in a thin_, 
angular hand, all crossed and delightfully ille- 
gible/' 

" Yes, I had some school friends ; but I don't 
suppose I shall see any of them again. !My greatest 
friends were Mr. Spindler, M. Paul the barber, 
and two dear old toads that lived in the garden. 
They buried themselves every winter, and came 
up again in the spring." 

" Interesting objects for pets ! And who was 
M. Paul ?" 

" He has a shop next door but one to the 
confectioner's, close to the Flying Dragon. 
Such a nice old man ! He was very kind to 
me." 

" You seem to have had a choice selection of 
acquaintances in Villios ?" 



BKOWN AS A BERRY. 177 

'^ Oh, Miss Holt knew lots of people, but she 
was different from me. M. Paul took me to the 
theatre/' 

" Tall, thin man ? He cut my hair the day I 
left Villios/' 

" Yes, tall and thin with no hair on his head — 
not even one hair. He used to make cosmetics 
for producing a ^ luxuriant crop / but they 
never did him any good. Did you ever hear of 
Egmont ?' 

" No ; who was he ? Was he a relation of 
the barber's ?" 

'^ A Flemish Count, who was beheaded by the 
Duke of Alba, in 1568. The play that M. Paul 
took me to see was about him."" 

" A nd when did you and the barber go to the 
theatre ?" 

" Last Christmas. Miss Holt went to pay a 
visit to some friends in Paris, and I was left 
alone in the pension.'* 

^' In that great dull house T' 
" Yes. There was an old woman. Mere 
PantouflQe, who cooked my dinner and slept in 
the house at night. Oh, monsieur, I did feel so 
desolate, and I sat looking out of the music- 
room window " 

" Out of which you jumped so nicely.'' 

" On to the street," continues Thyrza, heedless 

VOL. 1. 12 



178 BKOWN AS A BERRY. 

of his interruption, ^^ which was filled with 
people all in fete dresses. And I was cross with 
everything. It was so dismal — so dead — so 
stupid — so stagnant. Just as I was complaining 
to myself, Mere Pantouffle said some one wanted 
to speak to me. It was M. Paul." 

" But how came you to be on such friendly 
terms with him V 

" Why, monsieur, he coiffed Miss Holt^s hair. 
She used to send me across to his shop with her 
chignons for him to rearrange when the fashion 
changed. No one minded. M. Paul said he 
was going to the theatre, and if I liked he would 
take me with him. He saw I was dying of 
ennui by myself, and 1 had known him ever 
since I lived at Villios. So in the evening he 
came for me.^^ 

" Was he a married man ?" 

" Oh yes ; Madame Paul was a fat little 
woman, like a roly-poly pudding, with a string 
tied round the middle to indicate her waist.-'-' 

'^ Had they any sons V 

'' Yes, two. Louis and Victor." 

" Were they of the party too ?" 

" No, they could not come. Louis is in a 
coiffeur's shop in Paris, and Victor is a commis- 
voyageur for M. Joachim. What questions you 
ask, monsieur \" 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 179 

" I merely thought it probable the sons were 
there also/^ 

" They ^ ere very polite young men, and some- 
times paid me some pretty compliments/^ 

" Oh, you like the polite way of telling 
lies r' 

" Yes — at least, I mean I like people who say 
nice things." 

" Whether they are true or not ?'* 

" Oh, they may occasionally be true, may they 
not ?" 

'' When you have lived a little longer, you 
will lind it is not your best friends who pay you 
the most compliments/'' 

^' Well, perhaps not. But a word of praise, 
how it helps one on, and makes one so bright 
and gay ! Perhaps I should tire of compliments 
if I were more accustomed to them. One does 
weary of things after awhile,^'' looking medita- 
tive and tapping her boot with her silver- 
mounted riding-whip. 

" I should just think one did V^ says Ferrier. 
" You see,''' very gravely, " there is nothing 
new under the sun. And it is even very 
stale and hackneyed to say there is nothing 
new. All the inventions, as they are called, 
have already been in existence since the begin- 
ning of the world, they are only put into a dif- 

12—2 



180 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

ferent shape and form. The description of 
the fast man is as applicable now as it was in 
Solomon's day. The only difference is_, there 
was no smoking then. Bnt if they had known 
the virtue of the weed^ how they would have 
smoked ! for of course there was a tobacco plant 
among the other plants and shrubs in the Garden 
of Eden. But you were telling me about the 
Yillios barber." 

" Whom you seem to despise.'^ 

'^ No, in general I don't care for the snob- 
ocracy ; but very likely he was an intelligent 
man. He must have been if he took you to the 
theatre. Did you enjoy it?" 

" Oh, ciel ! how beautiful it was \" cried 
Thyrza, enthusiastically. " All the lights,, and 
colours, and finely dressed people, and the 
music." 

'^ What is the story of Egmont ?" asks Terrier, 
lighting a cigar. 

^' The first scene is nothing particular. There 
are soldiers and citizens talking about the 
Regent and Egmont. Oh, what I liked best 
was the lovely piece where Egmont conies with 
his court dress, covered over by a military cloak, 
to see Clarchen. She was his ' geliebte.' " 

" His what ?" 

^^ His sweetheart — his true love, you know. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 181 

monsieur/' explains Thyrza. " She is standing 
in her humble cottage^ just in her peasant''s 
dress^ and her hair braided down her back in two 
long pigtails tied with blue ribbons. She is 
only a peasant, one of the people ; but Egmont 
is so noble, and feels for them. Clarchen wor- 
ships him ; and I am not astonished, for he is so 
grand — like a god. The cottage is dark at first, 
then the light is turned on fuller, and as 
Egmont takes ofi" his cloak and stands before 
Clarchen in all the splendour of his courtier's 
dress and his manhood^s prime, one feels he is 
worth loving, not only for his beauty but for his 
grand mind." 

"And Clarchen ?'' 

" Says the world has no happiness equal to 
that of being Egmont^s beloved."" 

" Clarchen was not Egmont's wife ?" 

" Oh, no ; she was merely a girl whom he 
loved.^' 

'^That accounts for their affection. If they 
had been married they would have wrangled 
and jangled, just like any other respectable 
married couple." 

" Then the play becomes sad," continues 
Thyrza. ^' Alba is jealous of Egmont^s renown 
and plots against him and entraps him. You 
see him ride up to the Duke^s palace on his 



182 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

favourite horse — such a pet ! he dismounts and 
passes his hand lovingly over its mane. Alba, 
all the while, is looking on from a window 
above, and in another moment his generous foe 
has gone mirthfully, unsuspectingly to his fate. 
Alba offers Egmont his life if he will change his 
principles. And Egmont, though so fond of 
living, will not be saved at the expense of his 
honour. Poor Clarchen ! She tries to save 
him, but what can a little peasant girl do ? 
After she hears the news Egmont is to die, the 
scene opens in her cottage again. She enters 
with a lighted lamp in her hand, which, as it is 
the only light in the theatre, shows out dis- 
tinctly. But, ah ! what is the use of telling 
you, monsieur ? You will laugh and say it is 
foolish sentiment,''^ interrupting herself, and 
whisking the heads off several unoffending daisies 
with her whip. 

" I can assure you I am deeply interested, 
mademoiselle,^^ returns Ferrier. '^ I can guess 
how the play ends. Egmont, at the last 
moment, when his head is on the block, escapes. 
Clarchen and he are married, and live happy 
ever after.^^ 

'^ No. Well, she places the lamp in the 
window, to let Brackenburg see she waits for 
him. He is a burgher and her devoted lover. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 153 

Presently lie comes, and slie hears there is no 
hope of rescuing Egmont. Then she poisons 
herself ; and Egmont, as he lies sleeping, sees the 
spirit of Clarchen holding a crown of laurels 
over his bead. He goes to die as the sun rises 
and the dawn spreads over the sky, and the 
Platz is illumined by its rays. It was splendid V 
drawing a long breath. 

" What sort of a life can you have had to take 
so ranch interest in a man who has been dead 
long ago ?" 

" I have been happy enough. Then after the 
play we had a grand supper in the back room, 
where M. Paul and madame make wigs, and 
plaits, and curls, and cushions for the hair. 
They send quantities over to London. ■'' 

" You^U spoil your complexion,^' says Ter- 
rier, abruptly. ^' Why don't you put on your 

hat r 

" Oh, there is no fear of spoiling my com- 
plexion," she laughs. ^^ It would be impossible 
to do that. I am so brown already that a little 
more sunburn does not matter — and then I don't 
freckle, which is a good thing. Freckles are so 

ugly." 

'^ I am rather partial to freckles," he returns. 
'^ They are generally the sign of a smooth skin. 
All young ladies ought to take care of their 



184 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

complexion; part of their stock-in-trade^ you 
know.^' 

^^ But I am not a young lady/'' 

" What are you then ? A female V 

" Oh, hateful word \" she rejoins, indignantly. 

" Woman, spelt in capitals ? No ? Perhaps 
you would wish to be termed a young person ? 
No, again ? Well, I'm blest if I know, and it is 
too hot to-day to exercise one's brains much,'^ 
stretching himself along the parapet lazily. 
" Oh, my prophetic soul, it is hot ! Jove ! 
You'll not find it very cheerful at Carmylie. 
There are only the fisher folks in the way of 
society." 

" But I shall see you, shall I not ?" says she^, 
naively. 

'^ Why, yes, if it is conducive to your happi- 
ness, you'll see me pretty often, as we are going 
to live in the same house for the next year." 

" A year ? — twelve whole months ?" 

" It will soon go, mademoiselle. Are not 
you sorry that, instead of ' coming out,' as girls 
generally do at your age, you have got to work ? 
I daresay you have moaned over the parties and 
fineries you have lost." 

'^ You see I never knew what they were like, 
and one cannot miss what one has never had. I 
was brought up to work, and I am not ashamed of 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 185 

it. There is nothing but what is honourable in 
work^ and I have got a pair of hands/^ 

" Let^s have a look at this pair of hands that 
are so able and willing to work/"* 

Thyrza pulls off her gloves^ and Terrier takes 
her slender fingers into his own broad palm. 

" No rings T' he asked, interrogatively ; ^^ in- 
deedj no earrings, either ?" 

" No, I don't like them.'' 

"By-and-by, some one will come and put a 
band of plain gold round this little thifd finger 
of the left hand, and you will promise to be 
faithful and true, and will follow his fortunes 
over the world. So you are going to earn your 
own livelihood with these morsels of hands ? 
Why, I could break them to bits. Don't move 
them away. I have a curiosity to look at 
them. How brown and sunburned they 



are 



V' 



" Matching my face," she replies, gravely and 
simply. 

" This is the line of life, here is the line of 
fortune, and there is the line of intellect. Pro- 
perly you ought to give the fortune-teller a piece 
of money to cross your palm with. Have you 
any with you ?" 

" No, I have none." 

'^ This will do as well/' feeling in his pocket 



186 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

for a sovereign among some loose coins. Tlien 
he crosses her hand with the gold^ Thyrza not 
laughing or giggling, but looking on very quietly 
and calmly. 

" Monsieur, move the pony^s head. He is 
going to eat my flowers. I think some time or 
other I should like to be a nurse in a hospital. 
Madame Paul took me over the hospital of S. 
Sulpice at Villios. The Sisters of Charity had 
such calm, quiet, holy faces, with no earthly 
passions imprinted on them. When — oh, mon- 
sieur, what are you doing to my hands T' 

" Reading your fortune from the lines. Go 
on, mademoiselle. When '^ 

" When I am tired of the world, I shall go 
there, I think. ''^ 

^' And give Heaven the dregs of your life, after 
the freshness and innocence have been rubbed 
off. A real woman^s creed that — coquette 
while that amusement can be practised, then 
devote for the rest of the time. But you were 
never fitted for S. Sulpice. To begin with, you 
would have all the fellows breaking their legs 
and arms to be nursed by you, of which little 
game the good Sisters would not approve, and 
you would be continually in hot water : you 
were meant to be a man^s companion, and not 
to go through life single file." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 187 

^' If I was loved as Egmont loved Clarclien, 
I should not mind any amount of suffering 
afterwards/' 

" That is to say^ for a few hours of perfect 
happiness^ you would endure a life of misery. A 
dangerous idea for a man ; a doubly dangerous 
one for a woman. There, mademoiselle/'' relin- 
quishing her hands, " I read long life and mo- 
derate fortune. DonH have that foolish notion 
any longer in your mind. There is one law for 
the man by which he always comes off scot 
free, and another for the woman by which she 
is without fail condemned. That thought of 
yours is precisely what leads people to the 
bad.'' 

" To the bad ?" she inquires. 

" Don't you understand me ? It signifies 
betting and racing, and gambling, and spending 
money on everything we ought not to spend it 
on, generally winding up with not a penny 
to bless oneself with, and a ruined constitution." 

" Did you ever do that, monsieur ?" 

" Well^ there are not many things I have not 
had a try at in my time, and I wish now I had 
let a few of them alone." 

" Ah, but what would it signify if I went to 
the bad ?" says she, defiantly. " Who would 
cry for me^ or put on mourning if I died to- 



188 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

morrow ? I am of as mucli importance in the 
world as this spray of mountain-ash flower/^ 
rising and throwing into the river a tuft of 
rowan blossoms. 

" You don^t know what you are talking 
about/'' returns Ferrier. ^^ It is absurd to say it 
would not matter. I^ for one^ should be sorry 
to see a girl like you — I don^t say a nice girl, but 
simply a girl like you — spoil her future^ when it 
lies with herself to make it a prosperous one.''"' 

He is careful not to praise^ nor to flatter^ nor 
to compliment her in any one way^ as she stands 
leaning over the broad low parapet, her hat in 
her hand, the dark blue habit falling in graceful 
curves round her slim ligure, her face and eyes 
glowing with life, looking pretty enough in the 
wavering tesselated lights and shadows to have 
tempted S. Anthony himself to forswear celi- 
bacy and his hermit^s cell. There is a long 
pause ; Thyzra is silent. The lowing of the oxen; 
the hum of insect life ; the chirping of the birds ; 
the roar of the river from the rough waters, make 
music on the ear in the sultry hush of the sun- 
steeped, hot midsummer day. There is not a 
breath of air stirring : the wind is too lazy to 
waft the perfume of the meadow down from the 
opposite side of the stream, or break the rain- 
bow tinted foam bubbles at the sandy margin 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 189 

by the arum lilies. The vspray of rowan flower 
floats like a feather in mid-air_, hovering gently 
above the bog, by the grim grey kelpie^s head, 
in whose grinning month a fern has taken root 
and is growing luxuriantly ; then it slowly de- 
scends on to the water's surface, where it is 
caught by contrary currents from sundry tiny 
cascades of mountain burns, running down the 
red sandstone rocks to the river from the hills. 
It sails along smoothly under the shadow of 
the ivy-clad trees, gets into trouble and threatens 
to be swamped when the bed becomes rough and 
rocky, almost becalmed by a shelving promon- 
tory, is righted by a faint pufi" of wind, and 
finally is borne peacefully and tranquilly out of 
sight upon the bosom of a deep pool. 

" The poor little tempest-tossed bark has got 
safely into port,'''' says Terrier, at length. " I 
watched it with some anxiety." 

" Monsieur, what time is it, please V she 
asks, somewhat sharply. 

" Not quite three o'clock." 

^^ I must go back to Lillieshill now." 

" I am going there too." 

" There is a short way by a path along the 
river side. It is impossible for monsieur to 
miss it." 

" I intend to accompany mademoiselle on the 



190 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

road to Lillicsliill. Did you want to get rid of 

" I thought monsieur was tired of my society/'' 
says she, candidly, '' so do not come out of civility 
to me. I can go home by myself/' 

" It suits me better to walk with you/^ he 
returns, quietly. " How about mounting ? Will 
the pony stand while I put you up T' 

'' I don't think he will. But if you will hold 
his head I will get on myself.^'' 

Terrier brings the pony closer to the parapet, 
on which Thy rz a, her habit gathered round her, 
is standing. She runs along a few yards, and is 
preparing to give a jump of delight, when Terrier 
drags her down by both wrists, and catching her 
in his arms, lifts her bodily on to the pony. 

" Are you mad V he cries, grasping the reins, 
while Thryza hits June Rose sharply on the off 
flank, making the half- thoroughbred mare rear 
and plunge. " I never saw such insensate folly. 
Perhaps you think it fine and spirited to show 
off like that r' 

" Monsieur, you have taken an unpardonable 
liberty ,'' she says, with flashing eyes. 

" You took an unpardonable liberty with your- 
self. One step backwards and you would have 
been killed. It made me giddy to look at you, 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 191 

and if you had fallen over^ I should have been 
had up for manslaughter/' 

" Pouf V rejoins Thyrza, with a gay laugh. 
'^ And if it had been^ it is only death at the 
worst. A hundred years hence, when two or 
three old bones are all that remain of me, it will 
not matter whether I broke my neck or lived to 
threescore and ten. It is all the same in the 
end. One must die sooner or later. Only I 
should like to enjoy myself, and have a little fun 
first.'' 

Terrier slackens the reins, and she and he 
go up the hill together towards Lillieshill, the 
small terrier trotting behind them. 




CHAPTER VII. 

DON^T like to hear you talk in that fool- 
hardy way/^ resumes Terrier^ when they 
have climbed the brae^ and are upon the high 
road. " It is — how shall I say it ? — not proper 
conversation for a young lady.^^ 

" That is just why I hate being a girl/^ returns 
Thyrza. ^' If I had been a man I should not 
have been bothered about the proprieties, and 
sitting up pretty all day long, and behaving 
myself like a young lady." The last words she 
pronounces with intense disgust. ^' Bah ! If I 
had been a man I could have gone into com- 
merce abroad.^^ 

" I might have taken you out to China with 
me as a clerk. What a pity you are not a boy !" 

" Is it not ? I suppose it would not do to 
dress up in man^s clothes and cut my hair short ? 
No one would ever find it out.'' 

" No, hardly," says Ferrier, biting the corners 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 193 

of his lips to restrain his laughter. What an 
innocent little thing she is, unless she puts it 
on ; if she does_, it certainly does credit to her 
stage powers. " Well, go in for being a lady 
medical — Dr. Thyrza Rutherfurd, M.D. ! How 
■would that sound ? Ah ! I forgot. You have 
no nerve. If you could not help me to bandage 
the Italian lad^s head, how would you face the 
dissecting rooms ? But, of course, you will 
marry. Have you ever thought about that ?^^ 

" Occasionally, monsieur. But I don^t think 
I shall. The person I liked might not care for 
me, and I would never marry unless I was very 
fond of the man. Besides, who would marry a 
plain penniless girl like me ?^^ 

" Ah, to be sure, it is not probable. Money 
and beauty are such essentials. What do you 
mean by ' being fond ' of a person V — giving a 
look of admiration in spite of himself at the 
outlines of Thyrza^s figure, showing clear against 
the brilliant blue sky. 

" Oh ! loving with heart and soul, better 
than everyone and everything else in the world." 

" Charming in theory, the reverse in practice. 
For how long T^ 

'* For ever." 

'' What is your definition of ' for ever.' Until 
next month ?" 

VOL. I. 13 



194 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

'' No, all one's life/' 

"What would you do for a person you loved? 
Cut off your hair ? I know you are proud of it. 
The Chinese mandarin with the red ball would 
make it into a famous pigtail/"* 

^'^ Cut off my hair V she repeats, scornfully ; 
'^ I would cut off my foot if it were necessary." 

" You might find it inconvenient to go through 
life with only one foot. Your hair, teeth, com- 
plexion, youth, are so many valuable articles in 
the marriage market ; as you lose them, your 
value decreases. But could you put up with 
the vagaries and fads of a jealous person T' 

" If he loved me, and I loved him, yes/' 

" How do you know the person would be he ? 
It might be an old maid with the orthodox 
cat/' 

" I took it for granted." 

" Mademoiselle Thyrza, I pity you !" says 
Ferrier. 

" Why ?" she asks, astonished. 

" You are so completely devoid of common 
sense and prudence. Your head is stuffed full 
of romance and sentiment. Common sense is a 
better gift than genius; with it, and tact as 
ballast, you will get along easily. Love, such as 
you describe it, does not exist ; it is an exploded 
notion. Two asses — don't be offended — two de- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 195 

luded asses swearing vows to adore each otlier to 
all eternity, belong to a past generation." 

" It was a much nicer one_, monsieur." 

" No, we are far wiser. Love now-a-days is 
resolvable into the amount of pounds, shillings 
and pence a man or woman is prepared to bid 
in exchange for a bundle of silk, frivolity, sim- 
pering nothingness, false hair, rouge, pearl-powder 
and feminine spite, or conglomeration of Poolers 
clothes, ambition, vanity, which go to make up a 
belle or dandy of the first water. If a little 
genuine liking can be thrown into the bargain, 
all the better." 

" If I don^t meet my ideal, I shall never 
marry." 

" You are worse off than the bundle of silk ; 
for you seem to have ideas of your own." 

" I wish I could do as I liked." 

" Well, suppose you can, let me hear the 
result." 

" Make myself very pretty." 

" Oh, come now, you don't expect me to 
believe you think yourself ugly. It^'s a nice 
opportunity for paying a compliment ; but I 
never pay compliments." 

" That must be as you like, monsieur. I 
should have golden hair and blue eyes " 

''And a complexion like the wax model in a 

13—2 



196 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

barber^s shop. I abominate fair women. They 
are generally vicious,, with vile tempers^ and 
either become dried up and shrivelled after 
thirty, or else inordinately stout.^^ 

'^ Monsieur admires dark people then ?" 

'' I admire a pretty fair woman and a pretty 
dark woman; it^s all the same to me, as long as 
they are good-looking. I don^t object to some- 
thing rich and dark'' glancing at Thyrza^s 
pomegranate cheeks ;^" but most of all I admire 
a sensible woman .'^ 

^< Why ?" 

^^ Because they are so seldom seen.^' 

" Oh, I should like to do something really 
worth doing." 

'^ Much better cultivate the art of dressing 
and restrain your imagination. It never pays. 
Allow me to follow out your theory of love in a 
cottage. How would you like to bring up a 
large family on next to nothing ? Think of the 
realities ; maid-of-all-work in shoes down at 
heels and slatternly gown ; continual smell of 
soapsuds about the house ; children in chronic 
state of toothache : I think you would then 
prefer love in the ahstract, as the discreet 
Edinburgh damsel said. 

'^ I am glad I am not your wife," exclaims 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 197 

Thyrza, " but if slie had any of your favourite 
quality, common sense, she would keep you in 
order/' 

" Are you ?" says Terrier, much amused. 
" But don't distress yourself on my account. I 
shall never have a wife for two reasons. I don't 
believe in women, and if I did, I can't afford to 
marry. But if you were my wife, you would be 
a good little thing, and sew on my shirt buttons, 
and fill my pipe with tobacco if I were too tired 
or too lazy to do it for myself."" 

" Not 1" says Thyrza, tossing her head. " I 
should do nothing of the kind. I should cut 
holes in your stockings, and leave you to stitch 
them up yourself.'^ 

" No, you would not," persists Terrier, find- 
ing it impossible to resist laughing : — the more 
he laughs, the glummer Thyrza looks — " al- 
though that is what we are coming to; but it 
wont be quite in my day. Now, mademoiselle, 
ni prove to you in three words that if you and 
I were husband and wife you would do exactly 
what I told you. Please to suppose for a 
minute that we are married and are Mr. and 
Mrs. Ferrier. Did not you say a moment ago 
that you would marry no one unless you loved 
him, heart and soul V 



198 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Well, yes, monsieur/' answers Thyrza, 
hesitatingly, unable to deny her own assertion. 

" And that if you loved him you would do 
anything for him — would not even stick at cut- 
ting off hair or foot, if necessary ? Conse- 
quently, if you married me you would love me 
intensely, and if you would perform such heroic 
and out-of-the-way actions, you could not refuse 
the little commonplace ones I have mentioned/' 

"Mais, monsieur '' 

" I will give you an example of what it would 
be. If we were married, I should call you 
Thyrza and you would call me Jack/' 

'' Mais oui, c'est vrai. Monsieur Jacques. 
Well, it is a fact ; looking at it, of course, in 
the light monsieur suggests." 

" Of course," says Ferrier, " in the imaginary 
light. But if you were Mrs. Ferrier you would 
not say monsieur, but simply Jack. Confound 
that dog Wasp, he's always up to some mis- 
chief !" 

Wasp, seeing one of his detested and arch 
enemies — a cat — bolts after it across the road 
into a cottage, upsetting two fat children in his 
excited movements, who immediately set up a 
direful squall. He stumbles up against an old 
woman engaged in the occupation of winding ^ir«5> 
and stands on the very points of his hind heels 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 199 

barking and growling, with every hair on his 
body quivering with emotion and exasperation, 
while the cat has taken refuge on the mantel- 
shelf, having knocked down an image of the 
Duke of Wellington in china, on a fearfully 
and wonderfully prancing horse, which is thereby 
smashed to atoms. Out comes the old woman 
in white mutch, red and black checked shawl 
crossed over her chest, and grey linsey woolsey 
petticoat, to the door, picks up the unlucky 
infants, bestowing hearty cuffs upon them by 
way of cheering them a little, and pours forth 
a volley of abuse at Terrier in the very broadest 
Lowland Scotch, which is complete gibberish to 
both Thyrza and himself. From within pro- 
ceed sounds of snarls and growls ; the cat is 
spitting and swearing ad libitum ; Wasp has got 
on the top of the chest of drawers and is within 
an ace of touching the cat^s whiskers. It is a 
stupendous moment of excitement for Wasp ; but 
just as he makes a snap at puss, which she 
eatfuUy parries by a vicious dab at his black 
nose. Terrier brings his triumph to an untimely 
end, by catching him and lifting him down by 
the scruff of his neck. It is a primitive little 
cottage of two rooms, a but and a ben, contain- 
ing dark, close box-beds. The floor is earthen, 
without any pretence at boards ; some flaring 



200 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Scripture prints and cheap valentines hang over 
the mantelpiece ; bannocks are baking on a 
girdle over a peat fire ; the rafters are filled 
with newspapers ; bags of onions ; fishing-rods ; 
a couple of guns_, and besides seem appa- 
rently to be the receptacles for the family- 
clothing. A cuckoo-clock ticks away in one 
corner^ its hands creeping slowly over its old^ 
faded, painted face^ and a big Bible in a print 
cover is on the window-sill. The spinning-wheel, 
at which the woman was workings stands at the 
fireside^ and a box of pirns or large reels of yarn 
lies on the floor. 

"What is your name?^^ asks Ferrier^, as she 
is obliged to draw to a close from sheer want of 
breath. 

" Margaret Gow/^ is the reply. 

"Wellj here's half-a-crown for you," says 
Ferrier. " On whose property do you live ?" 

" Carmylie/^ she returns^ considerably pacified. 
" And it's a sair job I hae to gaither the baw- 
bees till the rent, and that's true, sir. This is 
an awfu' uncanny hoose, and sic cauld winds i^ 
the winter, and me sic troubled wi' the rheu- 
matics and near dead wi' the teeth ache/'' 

" Well, 1^11 think over what can be done about 
giving you a better floor." 

" The lord keep me ! and will you be the new 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 201 

Laird of Carmylie ? Preserve us a,\ and me 
gieing you yer kail through the reek that gait. 
He's a bonny bit beast that/'' endeavouring to 
pat Waspj who is delivering certain parting 
growls of defiance,, and scratching up the dust 
with his feet. But Wasp refuses the overtures 
of peacCj and keeps close at Ferrier's heels. As 
they move away the man who unloosened the 
horse from the cart at the bridge appears with 
the said cart and draws up at Gow's cottage. 
He is a tall, powerfully built man, six feet two 
or three in height, with shoulders like those of 
a Hercules ; his face is slightly marked with 
small-pox, and he has the peculiarity of only 
possessing one arm. 

" I believe that fellow is one of the biggest 
poachers for miles round,'' exclaims Terrier. 
" I never knew his name before, but I suspect he 
is the son of that delightful Margaret Gow, and 
those are his wife and children welcoming him 
home. How he gets his living is a mystery to 
me ; chiefly by eating his neighbour's game, 
I am told." 

" Now, Mrs. Ferrier," continues Jack, " where 
did I leave off in our little conversation ? You 
must try to think that we are married, and living, 
shall we say in London? I am in business and 
come home at night, done up with the day's 



202 * BROWN AS A BERRY. 

work. After dinner I sav, Thyrza dear_, will 
you hand me the tobacco ? I am sure you would 
not refuse. Any one whom you love would be 
your master. Can you love intensely 1" laying 
his hand on the reins of the pony and stopping 
it. 

" No, monsieur, I don't believe I could/' she 
answers saucily. *' I shall leave that for the man 
to do." 

" Oh_, you story-telling girl, when you have 
been admiring the devotion of Clarchen for 
Egmont ! That's the way with you, is it — say 
one thing and believe another ? But there, 
mademoiselle, I wish you a better fate than to 
marry a man like me. I'll tell you what ; take 
my advice and go in for an eligible. You are 
coming to our place. I'll ask a few down in the 
autumn for you to choose from." 

" I shan't go in for anyone," replies Thyrza. 
" If they like to go in for me all well and good." 

" There spoke sweet seventeen. At that 
period you say, who shall I have ? When you 
are thirty-seven instead of seventeen, you will 
wish you had gone in for the eligibles." 

^' Never : better be an old maid a hundred 
thousand times over than lose one's self-respect 
by marrying a man whom one did not love." 

" You will find self-respect a poor substitute 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 203 

for the support of a husband^s affection wlieu all 
your friends and schoolfellows have settled down 
comfortable in the world with their families^ and 
you are necessary to the happiness of no one. 
A woman, at least a nice-minded woman, lives 
chiefly in her affections. It is all very well to 
hold those opinions in the bloom and spring- 
time of your life. You should listen to 
the experiences of a grey-headed man like 
me.^^ 

" Oh, bother the future V says Thyrza, smil- 
ing ; her dark face dimpling with pleasure. 
" Perhaps I shan^t live to be old and ugly. I am 
sure I shall be a hideous old woman, dark persons 
do not make such pretty old people as fair ones 
do. That is another advantage men have ; their 
looks don^t signify at all.^^ 

" Consolation for me," returns Terrier, " If 
I had a wife she should be a calm dignified 
woman of unruffled demeanour ; exquisitely beau- 
tiful, that is a sine qua non ; she must know the 
price of everything ; be accomplished ; always 
know the right thing ; be an angel of amiability ; 
always well dressed," with a mischievous 
glance at Thyrza^s collar, which is, as usual, 
crooked. 

'' Monsieur desires perfection." 

" Yes, that is why I shall never marry. My 



204 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

bea-u ideal is not in the flesh. But^ after all, 
there^s nothing equal to a faithful friend — 

" And, of all best things upon earth, I hold that a 
faithful friend is the best. 
For woman. Will, is a thorny flower ; it breaks, and 
we bleed and smart." 

Do you know the rest_, mademoiselle T' 

^^ Monsieur quoting poetry?" asks Thyrza, 
in surprise. 

" A slip of the tongue, lapsus lingnce, as it 
used to say in the old Eton grammar." 

" We turn in here," says Thyrza, pausing at a 
newly painted green gate, and trim lodge built 
in imitation of a Swiss chalet, with balconies 
running round the front, and lattice windows 
designed more for their picturesque appearance 
than the purpose of admitting light and air into 
the dwelling. 

" Seriously," pursues Terrier, '^ you should 
cultivate Mark. He is a real good fellow as 
ever stepped the ground, sound in all points, and 
free from vice. He does not even smoke too 
much.^' 

Thyrza shakes her head. " I am a born old 
maid." 

" I have found you out, mademoiselle." 

" How ? " 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 205 

" You talk for effect.'' 

" It was rather fun to shock you by making 
you think I was fast/' she replies, " you did look 
so scandalized and horrified. I used to delight 
in telling Miss Holt all sorts of things. But 
here are Mr. Mark and Mr. Lefroy. If you 
want to win Mr. Lefroy's heart, praise the lodge 
and say you noticed the elegant contrivance of 
the pivot on which the hinge of the gate turns. 
It is ^ entirely his own design.' " 

"Well, Jack, glad to see you again. So you 
have come at last/' says Mark, shaking hands 
heartily with Ferrier. " I began to think that 
you had stuck in the middle of the Suez Canal." 

" I am very glad to be back in England too. 
I should have been home sooner had it not been 
that the engines of the steamer got out of order. 
But I had a nice little continental tour and took 
it easy." 

" How long have you been travelling alto- 
gether ?" asks Mr. Lefroy. 

" Nearly four months ; but then the vessel 
broke down, and we were a number of weeks in 
Bombay, besides my trip through Italy and 
France/' 

" Did you walk from Carmylie ? It must 
have been warm work." 

" Well, rather. I lost my way half a dozen 



206 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

times by taking wrong turnings at cross-roads. 
Are there no sign-posts in Scotland ?''^ 

" Not in the neighbourliood of Lillieshill.^^ 

" We have only two lumbering carriage horses 
at Carmylie, which the man and general help 
informed me were engaged in some carting about 
the fields. There remaining only an old pony, I 
preferred walking to breaking my neck. Good 
people are scarce, you know.^^ 

" Just so/' says Mr. Lefroy. 

" How did the ponies I bought for you in 
London turn out, Mark?'^ 

" Let me give you a word of warning, Mr» 
Terrier.'''' 

" Yes ?'■' inquires Ferrier of Mr. Lefroy. 

" Never be the person to buy a horse for a 
friend, and never commission a friend to buy one 
for you. It's never safe.'^ 

" Oh ! I don't know about that,'^ breaks in 
Mark, ^^ it may do very well as a general rule, 
but it does not apply to Ferrier and me." 

" That's a nicish animal Mademoiselle is on,^' 
observes Ferrier, examining its fetlocks, with the 
light coming into his eyes, which is only seen in 
an Englishman's when looking at a particularly 
choice specimen of horse flesh, "would make a 
good lady's hunter," 

" YeSj wouldn't it ?" replies Mark, pleased at 



BKOWN AS A BEREY. 207 

Ferrier's approbation. Few things gratify a 
man more than to praise his judgment regarding 
horses. 

" YouVe picked up riding rather quickly, 
mademoiselle/^ says Ferrier, with a critical glance 
at Thyrza^s easy seat. 

"Yesj thanks to Mr. Mark. It has been 
such a treat. I never knew what living meant 
until I rode June Rose." 

'' You must have been pretty well employed, 
what with painting and riding.'^ 

"We had nothing else to do, had we, Miss 
Thyrza? I feel like a fish out of water without 
my business to attend to, and read the money 
market list in the papers just out of sheer force 
of habit. Nice clean high action, has she not?^"* 

" Yes, steps out well, and lifts her feet cleverly 
from the ground.^^ 

" I see you are a chip of the old block, Mr. 
Ferrier," pursues Mr. Lefroy. *^ There was 
nothing Mr. Ferrier of Carmylie liked better 
than to look over a lot of horses." 

" Ah, yes," responds Jack, " the poor old 
governor had a good eye for a horse." 

" WeU, Mr. Ferrier, Luke and I were going 
to have a look at the cattle before you came. I 
dare say you don't trouble yourself about any- 
thing in the agricultural line, or else it would 



208 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

give me great pleasure to show you my model 
cowhouse/'' 

" By-the-by, Miss Thyrza, would you like to 
dismount now ? I^]l take June Rose to the 
stables for you as Smith is not here/'' 

Thyrza gives her horse to Mark, and Terrier 
having no objection to urge, Mr. Lefroy leads 
the way to his pet hobby, after a brief delay, 
occasioned by the absence of Mark. 

The situation of the model cowhouse has been 
carefully chosen ; it is on a dry sheltered spot, 
facing the south. The material used for building 
is brick ; the roof is of variegated coloured slates. 
The windows are lancet-shaped, like those of a 
church or chapel, for which the cowhouse has occa- 
sionally been mistaken, and they are of stained 
glass. The walls are painted pink, with ventilators 
in the ceiling. Pipes put all round provide for 
heating the place in the winter, and the fittings 
are of polished pine wood. The animals are 
perfect of their sort ; gazelle-eyed Alderney cows, 
almost as graceful in their proportions as deer ; 
sleek, hornless, ^'^ Angus doddieSj" Ayrshire^ and 
other varieties. The cattle intended for the 
forthcoming agricultural show in England are in 
another division of the building ; they are all of 
one kind, the black Angus. 

"That fellow there/^ says Mr. Lefroy, indi- 



BROWN AS A BERRY, 209 

eating a noble young bull, black as night, with 
fiery eyes, beginning to show signs of restlessness 
at the presence of strangers, " is going up to Bat- 
tersea by-and-by. He will have his coat laid in 
butter-milk for a fortnight beforehand, and will 
travel in a padded carriage, with two men to 
look after him." 

'' He is a beauty and no mistake," answers 
Jack, feeling called upon to make some observa- 
tion. 

" I am always remarkably brave when there 
is a barrier between myself and the danger," 
says Mark, laughing, while Mr. Lefroy is engaged 
in showing the good points and breeding of the 
animal, and relating how he made more than 
two hundred pounds in prize money the year 
before. 

" I remember," remarks Terrier — '' I remember 
reading an account in the English newspapers 
some years ago of the rinderpest, which devas- 
tated the country. Did you lose any cattle 
then?" 

'^ No, curiously enough, I never lost one." 

*^ You were more fortunate then than most 
people. What do you think your exemption 
was owing to ?" 

'^ I never allowed any stranger to enter the 
cowhouse. Indeed, if her Majesty Queen Yic- 

VOL, I. 14 



210 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

toria herself had begged me to allow her^ I 
should have said^ that though as loyal a subject 
as her Majesty possesses^ I could not consent to 
her entrance. Then I kept up the system of 
the cattle ; gave them oilcake and the best of 
food^ while my neighbours weakened the con- 
stitution of theirs by arsenicum and other dis- 
infecting stuff. An acquaintance of mine who 
reared the best Angus cattle I ever saw — ex- 
cepting my own — built a hospital in readiness 
and doctored the poor animals ; he lost every 
head, and he took it so to heart that he was 
never the same man afterwards. A small farmer 
close by where he lived made no attempt at any 
precautions, and like myself never had a single 
animal attacked by the disease. Remarkable,, 
very, was it not?^^ 

" Very remarkable !" responds Jack. " That 
fellow looks as though he had a little temper of 
his own/^ 

'^ Oh, not in the least, I assure you,"*^ says Mr. 
Lefroy, gazing with the rapt eyes of a fond lover 
at the black Angus. " Jupiter is mild as a 
lamb. He is too fat to be ill-natured. Come, 
Jupiter, look up, there^s a pretty dear, and let 
Miss Rutherfurd pat you." 

In testimony of his meek qualities, Jupiter 
puts his head between his knees, and lashes his 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 211 

sides witli his tail,, giving a tremendous roar, and 
endeavours to paw the ground but is unable to 
make much of this, the floor being paved with 
encaustic tiles. 

*• Well, Mr. Terrier/' observes Mr. Lefroy 
complacently, regarding the cowhouse, which has 
cost him a long way over the tidy sum of a 
thousand pounds, with its pointed pepper-box 
turrets and its Gothic windows, " I do not say 
it ostentatiously or presumptuously, but my cow- 
house is the best in the three kingdoms ; " and, 
after a brief pause, he adds, with a sigh of 
perfect, unalloyed bliss, his cup of happiness being 
filled to the brim, ^^ there is no doubt about it.'' 

" No one can dispute that,-" says Mark. 
^^ Come now. Jack, we will go down to the house. 
You must want pulling together, and I can give 
uncle's sherry a good character. It has been to 
India and back to season it." 

" Ah, you'll not beat my sherry in all Scotland, 
Mr. Ferrier. You had better bring the dog with 
you into the drawing-room. I have just had the 
place newly painted from top to toe, and if you 
leave him outside he'll scrape all the paint off 
the door," chimes in Mr. Lefroy, who is always 
ready to sing his own praises, and though one of 
the vainest, is also one of the best tempered of 
men. 

14—2 



212 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Lillieshill is looking its best when tliey reach 
the front door ; the warm sunshine gilding the 
old house and its " ivy-green ;''■' the close shaven 
velvet lawn, studded with flower-beds of scarlet 
geraniums, yellow calceolarias, blue lobelias, and 
verbenas, and ribbon-borders of every tint, all 
out in the most brilliant bloom, while some 
peacocks strut along, spreading out their iris- 
hued tails like fans for the admiration, according 
to the Darwinian theory, of their assembled 
partners and families. 

Afternoon tea is set out on a small three- 
legged table in the conservatory, into which Mr. 
Lefroy escorts Ferrier, through a door opening 
on the lawn, for the express convenience, Mr. 
Lefroy declares, of burglars and other light- 
fingered members of society. 

" Thyrza dear, will you pour out tea ?^^ asks 
Miss Lefroy. ^' I feel rather tired with my 
morning wanderings.''^ 

Thyrza at once complies, and Mark makes 
himself serviceable in handing the cups. As he 
stands beside Thyrza by a tall New Zealand fern 
under an arch of crimson Virginia-creeper hang- 
ing in thick flowers and curving tendrils. Jack 
thinks what a well-matched couple they are ; he 
fair and she dark. A good contrast to each 
other, and Mark is just the right age for Thyrza. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 213 

Mark, it is true, is older than Jack by some 
three or four years, but Terrier always feels con- 
siderably the elder of the two. 

Jack regards his friend almost tenderly ; his 
true and faithful friend after the lapse of many 
years, from boyhood to manhood; no change in 
the steady real affection which has grown up 
with time to be solid and enduring as the beauti- 
ful friendship of David and Jonathan. He 
knows that whatever trouble or evil hours may 
come upon him there will always be a warm 
corner in Luke Mark's heart for Jack Ferrier ; 
he knows that though the whole world should 
turn against him, this friend will always welcome 
him, believe in him, swear to his honour and to 
his truth, and put complete and absolute trust in 
him. All else may turn to gall and bitterness ; 
all else change ; all else forsake him, yet Mark, 
the companion of his schoolboy pleasures and 
escapades, of his shooting expeditions for big 
game up the country in China; of his business 
speculations in Shanghai, will cleave to him : 
will — should occasion require such assistance — 
spend his last pound to help him out of his 
difficulty. Jack is certain of all this, for he has 
proved it. He has not a thought but what is 
shared with Mark ; there is nothing underhand 
about Jack. Sooner than ^' keep things dark/' 



214 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

or live like Damocles with a sword hanging over 
his head, he would endure any pain^ however 
severe it might be at the time, and plain-speaking 
is one of the attributes which has often made 
him eremies and got him into trouble. Mark 
he considers fantastic in many of his notions : 
was it not peculiar for a young man of three 
and twenty to adopt an orphan as Mark had 
done? Most men of that age prefer to spend 
their money in wild oats and upon themselves. 
But then it was one of Mark's fancies, which 
expression to Terrier, who imagines he knows 
every shade and turn of Luke's face and character, 
accounts for any outbreak. From the first he had, 
so to speak, looked after Mark. If Luke got 
into scrapes at school. Jack most frequently bore 
the blame; if Mark had an imposition to write. 
Jack usually wrote the greater part, and read the 
remainder aloud for Mark's benefit. If Jack 
had a " grub-box " from home — they were like 
angels' visits, few and far between, for Jack was 
little thought of save as a tiresome lad who must 
be clothed and fed — Mark got the lion's share. 
Jack fought Mark's battles for him, punched the 
heads of those who attempted to tyrannize over 
the somewhat weakly and delicate boy, and was 
rarely without the ornament of a black eye> 
gained in Mark's defence. Mark, on his part. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 215 

spoiled by his indulgent uncle and aunt at 
Lillieshill, made much of and adored at every 
turn, took all Jack''s services as his right and 
a matter of course. He munched Jack^s tarts 
and spent his sixpences right royally ; next to 
his mother, Terrier was most deeply attached to 
Mark. When they grew up and went out to 
Shanghai, the younger, still as formerly, appa- 
rently led, and in reality got the roughest of the 
work. Mark did not desire to give dross in 
exchange for gold, which is, ah ! such a common 
bargain; his purse is always open to Jack if 
he wishes, and he values Ferrier^s good opinion 
more than that of any other living man. Jack^s 
standard of right and wrong is that to which 
Mark pins his faith and swears by. He has only 
one secret from Jack, and that one is the exis- 
tence of Lilith Mark. If Jack knew of the 
deception that has been practised on him by his 
most intimate friend for years : if he guessed 
that Lilith was Mark's wife, away would go all 
their friendship, all the pleasant hours they had 
spent over their pipes and B, and S.'s; there 
would be no more fishing, and shooting, and 
riding together. Jack would never forgive the 
fraud ; over and over again Mark has heard 
him say he could forgive anything excepting 
meanness and deceit ; he would simply not 



216 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

speak to him again, and -would cut Mm 
dead. 

However, this disagreeable idea need not be 
contemplated_, for by no chance nor possibility- 
can Jack ever find out, unless Thyrza betrays 
him, and he has settled that matter to his entire 
satisfaction, so he is quite safe and there is no 
fear of it leaking out. 

" Miss Lefroy, can anyone be handsome who 
is freckled ?" asks Thyrza abruptly, pouring out 
another cup of tea for Mark. Of all domestic 
avocations there are not many so pretty and 
becoming to a woman as that one of making tea. 
The attitude of raising the arm to lift the tea- 
pot shoTTS off waist and bust to advantage, and 
if ordinarily good-looking and possessed of a 
tolerable figure, almost any girl will look charm- 
ing at the head of her table, more especially 
w^hen the table is a little round three-legged 
one, and the background is of Virginia-creeper. 
Then, afternoon tea has none of the formality 
about it that appertains to the late dinner ; there 
are such convenient opportunities for bewitchingly 
simple costumes ; and how much can be made out 
of handing a cup of tea, and the apparently 
innocent question of whether you take both 
cream and sugar ? Hardly anybody does now- 
a-days, but it is wonderful what an aid towards 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 217 

cementing intimacy the discovery of similarity of 
tastes even in so small a thing as cream or sugar 
may be. One of the pleasantest hours of the 
day in a country house is when every one assem- 
bles for afternoon tea. It is agreeable in the 
autumn to sit in a corner that was evidently 
created by the various architects of Lillieshill for 
" spoony " people^ and talk nonsense over tea 
and thin bread and butter_, or the delicious 
sponge cake which almost melts in your mouthy 
made by Mr. Lefroy's sovereign and paragon of 
cooking excellence^ the Lillieshill cook ; or to 
lounge in the summer under one of the fine old 
beech trees which have charitably been provided 
with massive and wide trunks, while the rooks 
caw odd songs to each other_, which^ though 
discordant and noisy in our ears, may yet sound 
very melodious to Mrs. or Miss Rook. 

" Freckles ! " says Miss Lefroy, ^' no, my dear, 
I should think not.^' 

^^ Mr. Ferrier said he thought they were very 
pretty.'' 

" Oh no/' rejoins Ferrier, laughing, " I merely 
said I rather liked them." 

" Do you know any one with freckles, Jack ? 
The only person I ever knew who admired them 
was a man who told me he was partial to freckles 
and red hair, and besides that he rather affected 



218 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

squints. It afterwards turned out he was en- 
gaged to a girl who squinted and he married 
her. Jack clearly intends to marry a squinting 
young woman with lots of freckles and a meagre 
supply of light sandy hair." 

" Oh, nonsense, Mark. I don^t mean to 
marry. I think I see myself going up the 
church aisle to execution, with my face very 
long and pale, my step slow — I should go as 
slowly as I could — and my hands crossed in 
front as if they were handcuffed." 

" It would be a poor compliment to the bride 
to be welcomed by a lugubrious bridegroom." 

" I wish Carmylie was in anything like the 
order in which you have Lillieshill/'' pursues 
Ferrier. ^' My poor father's death occurred so 
suddenly and so soon after that of my brother 
that all energy seems to have been knocked out 
of my mother, and things have been left to take 
care of themselves." 

" Ah, I pique myself a little about Lillieshill,^' 
returns Mr. Lefroy ; ^' but I manage the farm 
and garden entirely on my own plan, and though 
I say it myself, you will not find a place in 
Europe or America better arranged. It is par- 
ticularly well managed ; particularly so." 

" I am disappointed in Carmylie. No doubt 
it looked better when properly kept, yet I can 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 219 

hardly fancy how my father could have preferred 
it to Blackbeck in Lincolnshire/^ 

" He only lived there during the shooting 
season,, and he liked it because it was near moors 
swarming with grouse. After the 10th of De? 
cember he went down to Melton Mowbray 
for the hunting. But certainly Carmylie is 
not the house it was during your father^s 
lifetime."^ 

" I don^t believe the game is anything par- 
ticular^, and the villagers poach in broad daylight 
and think nothing of it. That William Gow 
coolly walks through the avenue as a short cut to 
the preserves. The keeper is afraid of him^ and 
so he goes unmolested."'^ 

" I know the man/^ says Mr. Lefroy, with 
interest; '^ comes of a shocking bad lot. He was 
a Pendicler — that is^ his ancestors got the land 
their cottage is built on rent free^ in considera- 
tion of reclaiming some fields from the heather. 
Gow pays only a nominal rent. Originally these 
pendiclers were of the very scum of the earth 
— the ofF-scourings of creation.^' 

" Well, Gow has a rascally countenance ; but 
^ he has a stunning figure." 

" He loafs about the country, sometimes 
hawking pedlar's goods, and sometimes he drives 
a fish cadger's cart. I know he poaches in the 



220 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Lillieshill woods, but Vve never been able to get 
hold of bim/^ 

" Is this a sociable neighbourhood, Miss Le- 
froy ?''"' asks Jack, turning to her. " It seems a 
thinly-populated one as regards cottages. I 
don^t think I passed above a dozen on my way 
hcre.^^ 

" There are plenty of gentlemen^s seats, but 
very few of the owners live in them. When 
they are inhabited, it is almost always only in 
the shooting season, and then they are tenanted 
by rich English merchants. Country houses 
are very expensive things to keep up properly, 
especially if you live any distance from a town. 
How far is Carmylie from Queensmuir ?'' 

" A little more than twelve miles. ^'' 

" That is a long way from a post-town. Car- 
mylie is a dear place to live in, and the grounds 
and garden alone would require a small fortune 
expended on them in the shape of gardeners and 
under-gardeners. It must be very awkward 
having to send such a distance for your letters 
and household groceries. How do you manage 
about your coals ?" 

" The farmers have a clause inserted in their 
leases whereby they are compelled, so many 
times a year, to cart coals from Queensmuir to 
Carmylie." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 221 

" Sometliing of the kind is quite necessary. 
In Tvinter you will be obliged to lay in a store of 
provisions^ for the road through the glen is 
sometimes blocked up with snow and is quite 
impassable for weeks. But perhaps you will not 
remain over the winter with Mrs. Terrier. '^ 

" That I cannot tell at present ; but certainly 
not if I can help it.''"' 

" Mrs. Terrier, I daresay, feels nervous occa- 
sionally, being so far distant in case of emer- 
gency from a medical man. We are better off 
in that respect at Lillieshill, for we are only six 
miles from Queen smuir, and we think nothing of 
that. You have had a sad home-coming, Mr. 
Ferrier. We were so sorry to lose your father 
and brother, both such fine hale handsome men 
too.^^ 

" It has not been what I looked forward to,^' 
returns Ferrier, briefly. 

The spirit moves Mr. Lefroy to offer some 
consoling observation to Jack, but he does not 
know in what terms to couch his sympathy. If 
it had been Jupiter or Europa seized with pneu- 
monia, he would have found plenty to say. But 
this is such a different subject, and one in which 
his feelings and his heart are not so absorbed. 

" Bless me ! dear me ! dear me ! It is indeed 
a melancholy thing, very, particularly so. But 



222 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

you know these — eh ! hum ! — these little acci- 
dents will happen^ and one cannot prevent 
them V' 

" Very true/^ answers Jack, moving to show 
Thyrza a photograph of the house up the Yang- 
tse-Kiang in which Mark and he lived in China. 

" What a large house^ monsieur V^ 

" Yes_, we found our diggings too big for us, 
so we divided the one great room into several 
little ones. Not half bad^ was it ?^' 

" I have the pagoda one too, Jack.^-* 

" So I see. It^s a capital photograph. There 
is a temple right at the top of the rock, made- 
moiselle^ most beautifully ornamented with car- 
vings. A flight of a thousand steps leads up to 
it, cut out in the solid stone, and it is a ticklish 
affair to climb up as the rock is pretty nearly 
perpendicular,, and the river, which is very deep 
at that point, flows below. Are there many 
foxes about here, Mr. Lefroy ?" 

'' Abundance and to spare. I am not a 
hunting man myself, and I prefer pheasants to 
foxes. Sometimes the keeper shoots a fox by 
mistake.^^ 

" This must be a stiff* country to ride over 
with the hills, but there are no hedges and com- 
paratively few ditches.^^ 

" Not many hunt ; so few can afford the time 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 223 

and the money for tlie horses. But there is a 
subscription pack of hounds, and if you like to 
subscribe the Master will be very glad to gain 
another member/"' 

" Not worth while for all the time I shall be 
at Carmylie. I had nearly forgotten Charity's 
message. It is about mademoiselle^s coming to 
Carmylie. Will you all come to-morrow to 
afternoon tea and croquet ?^'' 

" I don't think we have any engagement/' 
says Miss Lefroy. "So we shall be delighted to 
accept her invitation ; unless, indeed, the day 
should be hopelessly wet.^' 

" That is a thing which we can never 
depend upon. Why 'does not some one invent 
an apparatus for making sunshine and fine 
weather to order ? It is one beauty of living in 
the tropics, you can count on a long tract of fine 
weather right ahead," replies Jack. 

" I hope it wont rain. To arrange an open- 
air party, and then for the rain to appear to 
spoil it all is so very annoying and disheart- 
ening.'" 

" Well, Miss Lefroy, as I wish to get back in 
time for dinner, I must be moving.'' 

" Wont you dine with us ?"" she asks. 

" Thanks verv much, but not to-nig^ht. Good- 
bye, mademoiselle, you will see to-morrow what 



224 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

a TvikI place your lines are cast in for the 
future/' 

" If you wont be induced to remain, Jack, Fll 
come part of the way with you/' 

"All right, Luke/' 

And the two men walk off, both smoking like 
chimneys. " Blessed be the man who invented 
sleep," said Sancho Panza, Don Quixote's amusing 
follower. And blessed, thrice blessed be the me- 
mory of Sir Walter Raleigh who introduced the 
use of the soothing weed, echo the votaries of ni- 
cotine. The man who smoketh not is to be pitied. 
He may, it is true, save some few shillings but he 
loses more than he gains. The non-smoker can 
form no conception of the delicious moments of 
contemplation — the pleasant reveries — the untold 
bliss contained in a '' Tip caf — the enchantment 
which spreads out with the grey vapour — the 
clever ideas and happy thoughts which flash 
across the brain, while the smoker, contented and 
at peace with all the world, puffs out clouds 
under the influence of Raleigh's tranquillizing 
discovery. And if the man is to be pitied, how 
much more that man's wife ! No pipe of peace 
to be smoked in which the domestic troubles 
and vexations, all aggravations and that odious 
"little bill" (still unpaid) , vanish away with the 
fumes of the tobacco, and irate Benedict returns 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 225 

with the house of his mind swept and garnished 
from the evil spirit^ even ready to indulge his 
offending spouse with a new bonnet or to look 
with favourable eyes on Worth^s last account for 
that duck of a gown. 

" Snug box that; Luke/'' says Jack^ looking 
back at Lillieshill, lying in the afternoon sun 
among the green lace -like leaves of its beech 
woods. " I suppose it will be yours some time 
or other. What a lucky fellow you are V^ 

"Why, yes; unless Uncle Richard should 
marry .^' 

" Jove ! you don^t think he will ?" 

'^Well, one can never be certain of those old 
boys. They often end by marrying girls of 
eighteen. You don't catch them taking any 
much older. They think women are not like 
wine, and don't improve by keeping. But I 
should imagine he would not. It would break 
Aunt Fanny's heart_, and no other woman would 
let him fiddle about the housekeeping as she does.'' 

" Luke, what becomes of fellows who are 
bankrupts? One continually sees in the list of 
sequestrations, so-and-so is smashed, and there is 
the finis." 

" Don't know, I am sure. Oh, they must of 
course get something to do. But that reminds 
me — are you goiug to keep Carmylie on your 

VOL. I. 15 



226 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

liands and settle there^ or let it aud go out to 
China again T' 

'' That depends upon circumstances. To begin 
with, Carmylie must be sold at once. There is 
no question about that. It seems my father had 
not long bought it before the bank in which 
most of his money was placed collapsed, and he 
sold part of the moors and mortgaged the rest; 
so the creditors come upon it."*^ 

" Whew V says Mark. " What was the mort- 
gage for?^^ 

'^ j845,000. That is covered by the property. 
But my father must have been infatuated, for 
instead of resting content and living quietly, he 
went in for horses and jockeys and trainers. 
There are heaps of debt, but I have only been 
at home a couple of days, and have not had 
time to give more than a cursory glance at his 
papers, and cannot tell yet what the sum total 
will be.^^ 

" My dear fellow, it^s a pretty go.''"' 

" Yes, that it just is ! I should not care a 
hang, but there is my mother, who has been 
accustomed to nothing but luxury all her life. 
I am going to offer the creditors what I had laid 
by, towards a composition, and I think I shall 
i^ell my share of the business in Shanghai, and 
buy a partnership in England, that is, if I can 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 227 

get anything wortli having, for every profession 
seems overstocked. Then I should take a com- 
fortable villa near the town where my business 
was situated for the old lady, and the creditors 
would, perhaps, come to terms. I would pay 
so much a year, and clear off interest and prin- 
cipal at the same time.'^ 

^' I would not sell the business in Shanghai, 
Jack. It^s ten to one you get anything so good 
in England.'^ 

" Well, there's sense in that, Luke. But it is for 
the sake of my mother. She depends entirely 
upon me, and does not want me to go abroad 
again, as she thinks she will never see me again. 
And of course it is on the cards she may not. 
Anyway, I shall insure in her favour, so that if 
I go first she will be all serene .'' 

" Your father never treated you kindly, 
Jack.'' 

^' Oh, well, he's gone now." 

" Dead or alive, that doesn't matter, he did not 
treat you well. People should have more con- 
sideration for those who come after them than 
to leave everything in a muddle. He never 
spent a penny more on you than he could 
help. As for William, he lavished hundreds 
on him." 

'' William deserved that he should." 

]5— 2 



228 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" YoTi did not kno.w of this in Shanghai ?" 
" No, I had not the vestige of an idea of it ; I 
thought I was coming home, like the prodigal, to 
a snug competency. As far as I can make out 
there is a good deal of money invested in foreign 
railway shares, and some in mining companies, 
which last have gone to grief since I came 
back.^^ 

" It^s a bad look-out. Do you think you will 
ever get clear T' 

" "Ton my word, it^s impossible to say. "When 
I have found out the extent of the liabilities I 
shall be better able to judge. I think the 
governor must have been taken in by the lawyers. 
You never saw such accounts as they have sent 
in, pages long. I shall go to Edinburgh next 
month to see the solicitors. Carmylie is to be 
advertised immediately for sale, and we shall 
have to turn out next February.'^ 

" Disagreeable time of year to move, too.^-* 
'' I do not see how it can be managed sooner.^^ 
'' This will keep you a poor man^ Jack. What 
a pity it is^ and you were getting on so well ! 

If I could '' 

" Thanks, old fellow. I know what you mean. 
But I could not, and it would be of no use. 
You^U hear of me turning up as a billiard-marker 
at the other end of the world some of these 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 229 

days; or^ Luke, make me your coacliman. 1^11 
close with you for a hundred per annum. Fve 
often thought a gentleman^s coachman has a 
good time of it/^ 

" Well, Jack, if it should come worse '' 

"I shall know where to come to, shan^t I? 
But I shan^t all the same. I never was the 
chap to whom money took kindly. It was you 
who were born with a silver spoon in your 
mouth. Don't you remember in the old school- 
days at the Blue Coat, that when we were both 
tijDped, your sovereign always lasted till nearly 
the end of the half, but mine had always been 
spent when we had been about a month at 
school, and I never could tell how it went for the 
life of me V 

" I say, .Tack,^-* says Mark, reflectively. 

" Well V 

" Have you no convenient old party belonging 
to you whom you could persuade would be hap- 
pier in a better sphere than this ?" 

" And leave me all his or her tin V* 

" Yes.^' 

" We had one, and a lot of good it has done 
us. But he was the only one of the species. 
And if there was another, you may be sure he 
would not die when wanted, but stick on like 
old boots, just out of sheer perversity. Those 



230 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

old duffers never die, but live out those wlio are 
waiting for their shoes. That field looks as if it 
ought to be a good cover for partridges. I 
should like to have a day's shooting here in the 
autumn."' 




CHAPTER VIII. 



RS. TERRIER, with Charity, Jack, and 
Mrs. Napier^s children, Rosie and David^ 
are seated at lunch in the dining-room of Car- 
mylie. 

Time has dealt very leniently with Alice 
Ferrier, and her still luxuriant black hair is but 
little streaked with grey. Never exactly beau- 
tiful, she is not much faded or withered. She is 
one of those women who, without possessing any 
special brilliant or dazzling qualities of mind or 
body, are almost as pleasing when advanced in 
life as when in theii earliest youth. These 
women always look nice and seem younger than 
their real age. Their dresses invariably suit 
them ; their skirts never fall down in the mud 
when they think they have fastened them up 
safely ; their dispositions are not angular nor 
filled with '^ wills and wonts -" they do not take 
desponding views of things in general; and 



232 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

surest and truest test of all, their relations love 
them, and their husbands and children worship 
them. Not particularly clever and with only a 
fair share of good looks, Mrs. Ferrier had won all 
hearts during her residence at Carmylie. Her 
own sex called her '' Dear Mrs. Terrier/'' and the 
opposite named her " Ferrier-'s pleasant wife.^' 
To her the loss of husband and son at one 
tremendous blow was an affliction so great that 
it was weeks before she could bring herself to 
mention the names of either again. Added to 
this was the sudden and unexpected change from 
opulence to the calculation of how far every 
shilling could be made to go. 

The dining-room at Carmylie is not a very 
cheerful looking apartment, the walls being 
painted a dull mud colour, and the arms of the 
Campbells — who formerly owned the estate — 
emblazoned over the mantelpiece is the one attempt 
in the ornamental line. 

The house itself is a grey, bleak building 
situated at the top of precipitous cliffs over- 
hanging the sea, here called the Bay of Car- 
mylie. Behind lies a small valley and the 
Glencairn mountains. Neither ivy nor creep- 
ing plants of any description are trained over 
the bare w^alls. Carmylie stands dreary and 
solitary, straight and severe, giving a much 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 283 

greater sense of desolation than the wild, barren 
hills which guard it on the one side,, or the long 
lines of sterile cliffs, in a cleft of which is perched 
the fishing village, which wall the coast, on the 
other. 

Houses after a time show tokens of the 
owner^s character, and Carmylie looks as if it 
had a history. And so indeed it has. The 
grim old place has changed hands often. In the 
tunnel on w^hich its foundations are laid, many a 
Jacobite has hidden when a price was set on his 
head ; and a little later on, many a smuggler 
has stolen up the secret staircase leading 
from the kitchen region to the vast dark attics 
that extend over the top storey, and hidden 
there the casks of whisky above-proof, and bales 
of French silks, and boxes of cigars, for which no 
duty had been paid. Many are those who 
have breathed their last, and been carried forth 
through the shade-haunted corridors to the kirk- 
yard down the brae at the fishing village beside 
the sea, and many the happy brides who have 
driven off from the narrow bolt upright door 
amidst a shower of satin slippers and wedding- 
cake. Like all Scotch country houses, it has its 
ghosts, derived probably from floating local tra- 
ditions of events which happened so long ago 
that it is impossible to separate fact from fancy. 



234 BROWN AS A BEKRY. 

The windows of Carmylie are small and not 
very numerous. At the time of erection the 
modern ideas on the subject of ventilation were 
still a hundred years in the future, and the 
window-tax pressing heavily on the purses of 
the lieges, our ancestors ruthlessly sacrificed the 
advantages of I'ght and fresh air to economy. A 
few straggling larches grow close to the house. 
The gravel sweep up to the front door is ill kept 
and covered with weeds, the lawn does not seem 
to have been mown for months ; the only sign 
of the place being inhabited is a row of bee- 
hives among some flower-beds, which give evi- 
dence of receiving more attention than the other 
parts of the grounds. It is not an inviting house 
to fix upon as a permanent dwelling. During 
the summer months, as now, while the sun 
shines and the weather is fine, the prospect of 
passing some time there does not appear so 
unendurable ; but one shudders to think of it 
as a home on a dull day in November, when the 
mist settles on the hill tops and lies curled in 
the deep mountain gorges ; or on a cold, frosty 
night when the wind whistles down from the 
broad shoulder of the Witches Law, cutting like 
a knife, moaning and sighing like a poor lost 
spirit through the thin larch boughs to the sea, 
over the great sand bar where so many good ships 



BROWN AS A BEERY. 235 

have struck and stranded, going to the bottom 
with all hands and not a sonl left to tell the tale. 

Then one would naturally wish for the bustle 
and noise of a town^ with the gaslights, the 
sounds of the cabs and carriages, and the tokens 
of life and business and amusement, from all of 
which Carmylie is as isolated as though built in 
the middle of the Sahara. 

Yet Carmylie is not without a certain wild, 
stern beauty of its own. To be sure, it has no 
smooth, smiling meadows, no purling streams of 
which to boast ; but those who love the sweep of 
a bold, rocky coast, the spread of brown moors, 
the green mantle and aromatic spice of pine 
woods, the golden bloom of whins and broom, 
and the purple of heather, the wide expanse of 
water, would find much in which to delight at 
Carmylie. The air from the mountains is pure, 
bracing and magnificently clear, and an artist 
would be able to fill scores of canvasses with 
the eifects of light and shade on glen, wood, and 
sea, while the red-and-white fishing village, with 
its natural pier of rocks, its winding street, its 
kirk and kirk-yard, would in themselves furnish 
subjects for many sketches. Ferrier has justly 
described Carmylie when he said, that besides the 
fisher-folks and the minister there is no society. 
So it may readily be supposed that Charity 



236 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Napier^ accustomed to tlie gaiety which attends 
ail Indian station containing five regiments^ who 
were among the fastest in the army^ should com- 
plain of being buried alive. 

The Carmylie estate was originally of large 
extent^ but is now reduced to a few small 
farmSj the house and grounds^ and some moors 
for shooting. These are all that remain of the 
former broad lands. For this the Campbells 
themselves were partly to blame, and disastrous 
^45, which ruined so many families in Scotland, 
bringing her noblest and best to the block, had 
also a great deal for which to answer. The 
Campbells were an extravagant race and seemed 
born with a fatal facility for spending money. 
While gifted with beauty of person and amia- 
bility of disposition, they were also endowed with 
an awkward and uncomfortable habit of being- 
unable to refuse acquiescence when events re- 
quired a decided negative, or to deny themselves 
anything which appeared to them desirable to 
possess. 

The immediate consequence of this want of 
backbone or moral strength, Avas that Carmyhe 
was put up for sale. 

Luck undoubtedly runs in families and seems 
to be attached to certain houses. In this respect 
Carmylie appeared possessed by an avenging 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 237 

Greek fate. Mr. Ferrier had been a prosperous 
raaiij content to live quietly on his small pro- 
perty at Blackbeck House in Lincolnshire^ until 
a relative died^ leaving him a large fortune^ on 
which he purchased Carmylie, and from that 
moment began going the pace which kills. This 
pace^ however agreeable, cannot be long kept 
up, and the rate at which Mr. Ferrier went was 
so mad and furious that the only, wonder was he 
did not go to smash sooner. But business men 
knoAv that occasionally immense sums of money 
may be made without money. Mr. Ferrier had 
some knowledge of this method, and before in- 
volving himself in the troubles and expenses of 
lawyers^ mortgages, made sundry efforts to re- 
deem himself by " flying paper."*^ Unfortu- 
nately, he was unsuccessful. He never tried to 
reduce his expenditure and kept up two establish- 
ments all the year round, one at Melton Mow- 
bray, and the other at Carmylie. There never 
had been such gay times known in the county as 
when Mr. Ferrier came down to Carmylie for the 
shooting season. There was open house from the 
12th of August until December 10th ; Champagne 
flowed like water at never less than twelve 
shillings a bottle, balls, dances, fetes, dinners. 

Then, first one moor was parted with and then 
another. The property was mortgaged to the 



238 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

last halfpenny of its value, and for several 
years before his death Mr. Ferrier lived not 
only up to his income, but very much beyond 
it. 

The sudden illness and death of his eldest 
son_, William, a promising young man, in whom 
all his hopes were centred, was a great shock 
to his system, from which he never rallied, 
and he died, leaving his wife totally unprovided 
for. His lawyers considered it a merciful 
removal, as he was spared the pain of being 
obliged to declare himself bankrupt, and at 
his advanced age it would have been impossi- 
ble for him to begin anew in any profession. 

So Jack was summoned home from China 
by Mrs. Ferrier. At that time she had no idea 
to what an extent her husband's affairs were in- 
volved, and it was not until Jack^s arrival at Car- 
mylie that he was informed of his father's debts, 
which to clear off will be the work of years. 

The first step towards economizing had been 
made as soon as Mrs. Ferrier^s lawyers acquainted 
her with the state of things, and Mr. Ferrier^s 
fine stud was sold by the instructions of the 
solicitors, along with the house at Melton Mow- 
bray, and the household at Carmylie reduced 
to the lowest scale compatible with comfort and 
ordinary respectability. Charity was well jff 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 239 

being liberally supplied with money by Captain 
Napier. 

^^The governess comes to-day/' says Mrs. 
Napier. " I don''t imagine she is very proficient 
in her profession, but she will do until we leave 
Carmylie, and I got her cheap. She is Mr. 
Mark's protegee/' 

" What is the damage, Charity ?" asks 
Terrier. 

" Not very deadly, twenty pounds a year.'' 

" As much as you pay your maid ! It is too 
little. What is she to do ?" 

" Undertake the entire charge of the chil- 
dren and their wardrobes, as the advertisements 
say." 

" Oh, poor little girl, you can't expect her 
to manage with that. I'll give you a ten pound 
note towards making it thirty." , 

" It is horrible to be so poor," pursues !Mrs. 
Napier ; " Carmylie was so different in poor 
dear papa's time," raising her lace-edged hand- 
kerchief to her eyes. " There was plenty of 
society and lots going on." 

" AsCloughsays, *^How luckyit is to have money, 
heigh ho ! How lucky it is to have money !' 
The fellow who wrote the other day some non- 
sense about virtue and rubies, had never known 
what it is to be without sixpence in the world. '^ 



240 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" It is odd Miss Rutherfurd's people should 
live at Marshley/^ says Mrs. Terrier. " What is 
she like ?" 

" Tall, scraggy, red nose, uncertain temper, 
and of an awkward age. By-the-bye, mother, 
what is an awkward age ? Jack, I have asked 
the Lefroys and MacNabs to-day.'''' 

^' I wish you would not. Charity.^' 

" It is not so expensive as a dinner to have 
them to afternoon tea, and you can^t expect to 
be asked out, unless you give something in 
return. I asked the MacNabs on your ac- 
count.^'' 

" On my account ?" 

" Yes, for you. We have plenty of blue blood, 
and pedigrees and so on. W^hat we want is a 
little hard cash in the family. You see I am 
married already.''^ 

" Otherwise you would be willing to sacrifice 
yourself for the good of the family. Then I am 
glad your fate is sealed.^' 

" But the MacNabs are nice lady- like 
girls. ^' 

" And I fear they may remain so for me. If 
matters are only going to get straight by marry- 
ing some one with money, they will not be set 
right by me. I shan^t present you with a 
sister-in-law/^ 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 241 

" I am not sorry^ Jack ; they are generally 
great nuisances/' 

" There's Rattray with the letters/' announces 
Rosie^ running to open the door. 

"Weel^ laird_, we hae gotten gude weather at 
last/' says a voice in broad Scotch^ belonging to 
a short thickset man, with merry twinkling eyes, 
grey hair, and cheeks ruddy like a ripe American 
apple. He is Terrier's factotum for three days 
during the week ; on the alternate three, he is 
the walking post between Carmylie and the 
post town of Queensmuir. " I hae broucht the 
tabaky/' continues Rattray, tranquilly, " it's the 
best tae be got in Queensmuir, but I'm some 
doubting it's no extra gude, and I hae paid the 
tailor, and here's the receipt, and gotten your 
fishing-breeks wi' me, and Rosie's new bonnet, 
and it's tae be houpit Mrs. Napier will be pleased 
this time." 

Whereupon Rattray delivers the pcstbag to 
Ferrier, and a bandbox tied up in a red pocket- 
handchief to Charity, but so far from leaving 
the room on having fulfilled his duty, he re- 
mains while Charity tries on Rosie's hat, to 
judge of the effect. 

Rosie is a pretty child with a fresh fair com- 
plexion, blue eyes, and yellow hair, which she 
wears cut over her forehead, in exactly the same 
VOL. I. 16 



242 BROWN AS A BEREY. 

way as her xnother's. Her brother Davie is 
another edition of herself, with shorter hair, 
dressed in knickerbockers. The pair are twins, 
of the age of eight or nine years, and as full of 
mischief and impudence as two spoiled children 
can be. 

" Any news from Queensmuir, Rattray, or the 
village ?'■' asks Ferrier_, who enjoys a talk with 
that worthy. 

" No just ony thing in parteeklar/' returns 
Rattray, unwilling to commit himself so far as to 
say there is any news, but on the other hand 
anxious to keep up his reputation for hearing the 
on dits of the burgh before any one else. 
"There's an auld wife near killed wi' furious 
driving by the lad Nicol^ the young doctor, ye 
ken ; and I did hear that our minister, Mr. 
Dods, is to tak^ a wife.'^ 

" Poor man ! I am sorry for him/' says 
Ferrier. 

" Fat for ? Taking a wife ? Weel^ there is nae 
dout but that whiles it is a sairious trial till a 
man. But I'm thinking Miss Jean Cock burn 
will not be to hae him. He has no eneuch 
o' money. And ye ken women wad marry auld 
Nick gin he wad keep them aye braw." 

" And very right of them too,-" laughs 
Ferrier. " Rosie, open the sideboard and you 



BEOWN AS A BERRY. 243 

will find some wliisky in a bottle ; pour out Rat- 
tray a glass." 

" Thank ye kindly," says Eattray, holding up 
the " mountain dew" between himself and the 
light with an appreciative glance. " And here's 
your gude health, laird, and the mistress yonder, 
and !Mrs. Napier, and Davie, and Rosie's. I 
daursay it wadna be the waur o' a drappie 
watter." 

" You need not put in any water, Rattray," 
exclaims truthful Rosie, hastily, " for mamma 
put in plenty yesterday, when Uncle Jack was at 
Lillieshill." 

" That's right, Rosie," returns Jack, " speak 
the truth and shame old Scratch. Rattray, give 
me your glass, and Til pour a little more whisky 
in." 

" Has Cecilia been writing any more poetry, 
Rattray ? What did you think of her last 
piece ?" inquires Mrs. Terrier. 

Rattray's eyes twinkle. He pauses before he 
answers, and then makes response — 

" Tae speak the truth and tell no lees, no 
mucJcIe ava ! But I was up Bogg water yestreen, 
and I catched four dizzen o' trout, and I can 
tell ye I think vera muckJe o' them. Na, na. 
It's no for women folks to write bits o' poetry. 
That's no their business. Besides, women's 

16—2 



244 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

poetry is nae better than a curren'' rubbishin' 
havers !'"' 

" You are a very ungallant man ! If I were 
Cecilia, I should be most indignant/'' laughs 
Mrs. Napier. 

*^ Ah V very prolonged, " Cecilia kens better 
than that.'' 

" What are you going to do with that 
dreadful instrument of torture, Rattray V asks 
Terrier. Rattray has an ancient blunderbuss in 
his hand — a weapon of great age, deeply valued 
and admired by him. Friends and acquaintances, 
however, are apt to keep at a respectful distance 
when they perceive him coming near with his 
formidable gun. 

'^ Shoot the spuggies,"" he answers. 

" I wont allow you to shoot the dear little 
sparrows; they are my particular friends,''' says 
Rosie. 

^' Weel, Rosie, I am real sorry to hear you 
say that," he calmly replies ; " I had nae notion 
they could be friends o' yours, for they are just 
the blaggairds o' the feathered creation. Did ye 
think I sow paes and neeps for thae rapscallions 
to tak' the heads off ? Tm gaein' oot the noo till 
hae a shot at them." 

^' I am cominoj too' says Davie. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 245 

Rattray sprinkles treacherously handfuls of 
oatmeal on the ground. 

" Mind yersel noo/* he calls out_, " I am just 
aboot till fire." 

" Let me pull the trigger," shouts Davie. An 
awful explosion is heard. One sparrow lies 
prone and hors-de-combat on the earth. Rattray 
picks it up, and caresses afiectionately the mass 
of flufiy feathers. 

Cecilia, the wife of his bosom, pops her head 
out of the kitchen window, and shrieks loudly. 

" Nae harm^s dune," says Rattray, con- 
fidentially. " Sae ye needna skirl !" 

" What a mercy the governess is coming, 
Rosie and Davie are really quite unmanageable !" 
exclaims Mrs. Napier. " They have been so 
much with Rattray, that they have begun to speak 
quite broad Scotch, and when children begin to 
speak badly it is so difficult to break them 
of it." 

" They certainly seem to have been allowed to 
run wild," remarks Jack. 

" Oh yes ; but who could think of anything 
with poor dear papa, and dear Willie, and my 
own health too being so weak. I sometimes 
think, Jack, that you do not feel their loss 
much." 



246 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

'^ I am as down in the montli about it as 
anyone can be; but there is no use in letting 
people see it/' he returns. " You would not 
have me sit down and cry like a girl who has lost 
her lover, instead of putting one's shoulder to 
the wheel, Charity V 

" I am sure Rattray is smoking in the kitchen. 
I should not allow him to do that/' rejoins Mrs. 
Napier. "It is for you to speak. You are the 
master." 

" Oh, let him have his whiff!" 

" Oh, well. I suppose you must do as you 
like about it. And, Jack^ don't be out of the 
way when the MacNabs come." 

" You wont want me to play croquet ?" 

"" No, not for your own pleasure ; but it 
always makes girls better tempered when there 
is an unmarried nice-looking eligible in the 
place." 

'^ A nice eligible I am to be sure," says Fer- 
rier, laughing. 

" Well, and you were my pet brother. Jack. 
Really that tobacco ! It is poisonous ! Do tell 
Rattray at least to shut the kitchen door." 

Rattray is sitting on the kitchen dresser with 
his legs dangling like Mahomet's coffin, between 
heaven and earth, and his fingers fumble rest- 
lessly in his pockets; which symptomj by long 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 247 

experience^ his wife is aware means he is search- 
ing for his pipe. In a few moments he fills the 
room and passages with the perfumes of the 
very vilest and stalest pigtail to be bought at 
Carmylie village. 

He hears the sound of approaching footsteps 
and departs hastily, and when Ferrier appears 
to reprimand him he has fled, and is slowly 
sauntering through the walks in the vegetable 
garden, pronouncing judgment on the peas and 
reflecting whether he will '^ stick '^ the late row, 
or make a new scarecrow to terrify the thieving 
blackbirds, against whom he wages malignant 
war, while Cecilia solemnly asseverates on being 
called to account for her husband^s misde- 
meanors — 

" As sure as daith, she disna ken wha Avas 
smoking. It will just be the peat-reek, ^\y." 

Ferrier shuts himself up in his study to look 
over the factor's books, and write a letter to his 
partner, Esme Lennox ; but has not long settled 
himself when he is summoned by Rosie to play 
croquet with the MacNabs and the Lillieshill 
people. 

In other ^ays there was a flower garden 
where the croquet lawn is now situated ; but the 
beds have long since departed, leaving no traces of 
their former gay denizens beyond a star of snow- 



248 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

drops which appears in spring regularly as the 
new year comes round. A low moss-covered 
wall runs between the green and the orchard, a 
wilderness of a place with ground ivy and peri- 
winkles growing in profusion over the earth 
among the old fruit trees. 

Thyrza feels a different creature since her 
visit to Lillieshill_, more self-reliant, less nervous. 
The lazy, easy country life has opened out a 
wider world to her than that of the narrow cir- 
cumscribed horizon of the Villios pension. A 
very little makes her happy and bright — a very 
little, a passing look, a changed tone of voice 
is sufficient to render her sad ; a smile, a kind 
word are so much to her. The knowledge of 
being well and becomingly dressed, added to the 
consciousness that she is about to become a real, 
and independent worker, and to be of some use in 
the world, gives her a sensation of importance 
entirely new to her. 

Her luggage has never turned up again, so 
Miss Lefroy has bought her some inexpensive 
summer dresses, and presented her with a black 
silk, made with a square cut body for an evening, 
and Tbyrza has expressly stipulated^to be allowed 
to repay her when she receives her first quarterns 
salary. She wears a dust coloured print, a knot 
of scarlet ribbon at her throat, a black fichu. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 249 

and a black hat of rather a coquettish shape, 
which suits the brown face and its dark hair. 

Terrier introduces Thyrza thus — 

" Mother, this is mademoiselle/^ 

Mrs. Terrier does not shake hands coldly as 
if greeting a stranger, but welcomes the girl with 
a warm kiss, which renders Thyrza her devoted 
admirer for life. 

" These are your pupils. Miss E-utherfurd,^' 
says Mrs. Napier, bringing the twins forward. 

" My name is Mischief,^^ volunteers Rosie ; 
" Uncle Jack gave me it because I let the pigs 
out one day and chased them round the garden." 

" And what is your name ? " she asks of 
David, who is peering curiously at his future 
preceptress. 

" Come and shake hands directly with made- 
moiselle," commands Terrier. 

^^ I don^t want to see the new governess," 
protests Davie, sulkily. 

'^ Oh, Monsieur David," cries Thyrza, pro- 
nouncing the word with the a broad, as in the 
Trench language. 

" She's speaking Scotch ; how vulgar /" ex- 
claims Rosie, laughing loudly. 

'' Shut up, you little beggars !" storms Terrier, 
with a frown. 

Thyrza may be good for nothing. Most likely 



250 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

she is. She coufesses to a predilection for fast 
things. She may combine all the most disagree- 
able qualities of his detested and abhorred 
fashionable woman, but as long as she is in his 
house she is to be treated with respect. 

" That is not the way to behave to made- 
moiselle/' he continues. 

Mrs. Napier observes Jack's interference in 
Thyrza's behalf with displeasure. She hopes he 
is not going to make an idiot of himself about 
that girl. He ought to know better. Unless 
he marries money he cannot marry at all. 
Besides, she is such an exceedingly plain, wild 
looking 'girl, and so dark, as black as a crow or 
a gipsy. But men are great noodles and will 
sometimes rave about people whom Charity can 
see nothing in, either to like or admire. There 
is Lola MacNab, with her fortune, ready to hand, 
just as if specially created by Providence on pur- 
pose for Jack. She does not believe what he 
says with regard to disliking the idea of being 
tied to any woman without the chance of chang- 
ing his mind. Cecil Napier said the same thing, 
and within two months of making the remark 
was engaged to Charity. 

" Will you have me as a partner, mademoi- 
selle?'' goes on Terrier. "I don't pretend to know 
much of the game, but I will do what I can." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 251 

" Oh, that will never do, Jack/^ interrupts 
Charity, hastily. ^' Two inexperienced players 
should not be on the same side. Miss MacNab 
and you will be a much better arrangement.-'^ 

" With the greatest pleasure/' answers Terrier, 
readily. '^ A crack player such as I understand 
Miss MacNab to be, will be a vast assistance to 
mademoiselle and myself." 

" The very first time I took a mallet in my 
hand I went the round of the green without 
stopping. I am a first rate hand at all games, 
particularly so." 

" I dare say, Mr. Lefroy ; beginners at billiards 
often make better scores at first than piofes- 
sionals, but it does not last. It is luck, not 
skill, and, of course^ in the long run^ real play 
must tell." 

" What are the sides to be ?" asks Mark, 
swinging his mallet round and round, and then 
hitting several balls one after another in a vague 
undecided way. 

" Eight is such a stupid game. There is time 
to go for a constitutional between the turns," 
says Mrs. Napier. 

"How would this do? Mr. Lefroy; you. 
Charity ; Miss MacNab and Mr. Dods : then the 
others, Mademoiselle, Miss Jane, Mark, and I. 
Shall we toss up, Mark,, heads or tails ?" 



252 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Tails/^ rejoins Mark. " Tails always do 
turn up, don^t they ?" 

" I thought Miss MacNab was going to play 
with you. Jack/' 

'^ Oh, I am sure I apologize, Miss MacNab. 
I merely thought you would find Mr. Lefroy a 
better partner than myself.'^ 

^^ I am quite content with the other arrange- 
ment, ''' says Lola, a little piqued at being thrown 
over rather unceremoniously to the lot of the 
older man. 

" I vote we all play,'' remarks Mr. Dods, in 
his solemn slow voice. " We can divide into 
sets of four. I have seen two games played at 
once on the same green ; the two sets starting 
from opposite posts." 

" So have I, Mr. Dods, but it was very tire- 
some. One had continually to stop in the middle 
of a shot to pick up a ball or wait until the other 
set had played out a turn," objects Jane MacNab, 
energetically. " We always met midway." 

Finally it is settled to play a game of eight. 

The minister begins operations. 

In his long black coat and white choker he 
looks grave enough to justify Lola MacNab's 
assertion that he surely has lately been conduct- 
ing a funeral service. He expresses himself in 
a peculiarly leisurely voice, with pauses between 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 253 

each sentence. He is a person to whom, no 
matter how free and easy he has been with you 
on the previous evening, you always seem to 
require a fresh introduction on your next 
meeting. 

But Mr. Dods^ in spite of his ceremonious, 
pompous manners, knows good wine when he 
tastes it ; he is also a judge of a pretty girl, and 
a general admirer of the sex. He is the best 
relator of an anecdote in the neighbourhood, 
telling the most absurd incidents without moving 
a muscle of his countenance, while his auditors 
are convulsed with laughter. After a few 
glasses of port, or a stiff tumbler of toddy, when 
fairly roused and set a-going, Mr. Dods is a 
pleasant enough companion, more especially as 
he does not intrude his religious opinions upon 
those of a different communion, and whatever he 
may 'preach, certainly does not practise sour 
Calvinistic views. 

On account of these qualities, and having in 
common with Mr. Lefroy an excellent opinion 
of himself — after all, the world generally takes 
one at one^s own estimate — '^ so long as thou 
doest well unto thyself men will speak good of 
thee'"' Mr. Dods has many friends, and whenever 
there is a dinner-party on the topis within 
twcDty miles of the manse of Carmylie, is in 



254 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

request for tlie '^ pleasure of his company/' 
Besides_, Mr. Dods is not a married man^ and is 
an object of considerable interest to various 
maiden ladies in the vicinity^ none of whom 
would have had any objection to reside at 
Carmylie Manse^ which they understand is 
already well stocked with linen and furniture, 
having been Mr. Dods' father's before him, so 
there could be little difficulty about settling 
down. 

Unfortunately for the aspirations of the 
spinsters,, Mr. Dods prefers wandering about the 
country instead of " settling like a reasonable 
man/' and attending to the duties of his parish ; 
he generally starts the first thing on Monday 
morning, and returns at the eleventh hour on 
Saturday night ; indeed, on several occasions, 
he has never put in an appearance at all on 
the Sabbath at the kirk, the congregation wait- 
ing patiently for him, and only going home 
when the precentor announced it was useless 
remaining longer, the minister doubtless having 
missed the train, or met with some accident. 

In anyone else this conduct would have been 
visited with disapproval and a hint of the 
Presbytery, but Mr. Dods is a privileged 
man, and no one hauls him over the coals. His 
lady friends hold steadfastly to their faith that 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 255 

if he were only married and had a wife to look 
after him people would see the difference in his 
behaviour then. Mr. Dods thinks so too, but 
with a trifling alteration. In the summer he 
usually has a number of visitors, chiefly ladies, 
at the Manse, having a married lady to act as 
chaperone. Dull in the Manse ! He is never 
there long enough at a time to experience 
weariness. 

Jane MacNab means playing the game, the 

whole game, and nothing but the game. With 

her it is not a pleasure to while away the 

passing moment, but an absorbing business. 

She flies from one end of the green to the 

other ; routs out Mr. Lefroy whenever Lola and 

he are trying to "spoon;" rushes up and down "to 

give a line -" attacks players who are chattering 

instead of taking a lively interest in the game, 

and decides disputed points, such as if a ball 

may be considered fairly through its hoop when 

half way — and is indefatigable beyond all praise. 

" No doubt, Mr. Mark, you will find a great 

difierence between the society here and that in 

Shanghai," observes Mr. Dods. 

" No, I can^t say I do. We went out to dinner 
there, or spent the evening at a friend^s house, 
picked them and the grub to pieces afterwards, 
and abused them well. Then met them next dav. 



256 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

and said how much we had enjoyed ourselves as 
politely as possible^ just as we do here/'' 

" That does not speak well for society, Mr. 
Mark/^ 

" But society cannot exist without an amount 
of shams. How terrible it would be if every- 
one spoke his mind and the exact truth. It 
would end in everyone fighting and killing every- 
body until none was left, after the fashion of 
the celebrated Kilkenny cats. Imagine paying 
a call, and being greeted with, ' My dear fellow, 
I wish you far enough, but as you are here, &c. 
he' IVe often said how delighted I was, and 
so on, when I^^e internally been awfully bored.^^ 

" But is not that untruthful ?" 

" Well, I suppose it is. It's a choice between 
saying what you don't exactly mean, and hurting 
a person's feelings. The fact is, politeness is 
very often a test of self-denial. I think I 
would sooner tell a white lie '' 

" If there are white lies,'' says Terrier. 

"Than wound a sensitive man who may, per- 
haps, brood over your stray remark, and make 
himself miserable for days. If one is to live and let 
live, one must humour people's foibles a little.'"' 

'* Even at the expense of truth ?" 

^' I don't see why one could not combine 
civility and truth," replies the minister. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 257 

^' It^s a more difficult matter than you might 
suppose. I show you a picture of my own 
paintings Mr. Dods. You cannot^ in accordance 
with your conscience, call it anything but fright- 
fully ugly, but I shall be intensely mortified if 
you do not admire it. Well \" 

" Ah, we-el.^' 

"Now, Mr. Dods.^' 

" Excuse me, Mr. Lefroy," says Jane ]\IacNab, 
"but I fancy I saw you move your ball into 
position.^' 

" Ah, eh, oh V^ exclaims Mr. Lefroy, caught 
in the very act of kicking his ball in front of his 
hoop, " I thought it was my turn.-" 

"We-el,^^ rejoins Mr. Dods, " I sincerely hope 
I may never be so situated, Mr. Mark.^^ 

"You don^t call that an answer, do you, 
Mr. Dods ?" laughs Mark. 

" I don^t much like those very strictly truthful 
people, Mr. Dods. I hope you are not shocked ! 
But they resemble a certain class of extremely 
pious persons,^^ observes Charity, " who are always 
treading on your toes and making disagreeable 
remarks (generally true, too), without the least 
consideration for your feelings.''^ 

" Oh, wad the power the giftie gie us, 
To see ourselves as ithers see us," 

quotes Mr. Dods. 

VOL. I. 17 



258 BROWN AS A BERKY. 

^^ Heaven forbid," says Ferrier, pausing to hit 
the stick. " It would be a most objectionable 
present. What is wanted is a process by which 
our neighbours shall see us as we see ourselves. 
Then the world would be as full of living perfec- 
tion as, judging from the epitaphs on tombstones, 
it is of departed saints.'''' 

'' Look at the enemy ; they are flourishing 
like the green bay-tree of the wicked, but you 
will see it wont last. It is your turn now, 
Mr. Lefroy. This is your hoop. You go through ; 
hit Miss MacNab ; croquet her down to me with 
the following stroke, ' take two off ' from Jack, 
and away to your next hoop, and then " 

Mr. Lefroy prepares to make his stroke. 
Mark goes down on his knees to see that his 
mallet is all right. 

^' A little further in ; no — to yourself. That's 
it. You have changed it again. There, now 
you must come through without fail.'' 

" They'll get it right sooner or later," remarks 
Terrier to Thyrza. 

" Just a thought more to yourself," counsels 
Mark. Mr. Lefroy obediently moves the position 
and is arranged according to Mark's ideas, when 
the loud report of a gun is heard in the orchard 
close by, followed by a louder exclamation. Mr. 
Lefroy gives a start, hits his ball with the side 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 259 

of his mallet, and the result is an unmitigated 
miss. 

^' The mallet twisted/' says Mr. Lefroy, look- 
ing rather foolish at this ending to all the elabo- 
rate preparations, "and I really believe it is a 
crooked one. I cannot play well with a crooked 
mallet/' 

'^ Any person killed ?" asks Terrier, looking 
over the wall into the orchard ; " it is Rattray 
with the blunderbuss, I am always afraid of 
some accident happeaing with it.'' 

" Mr. Dods, do come up," implores Mrs. 
Napier. This is exactly what the minister has 
vainly attempted to do through the whole game, 
so it is hardly to be expected he will succeed 
now. 

Croquet has been rendered so extremely scien- 
tific lately, that a good deal of the pleasure for- 
merly attending this pleasant mode of spending 
a few hours in the open air is departed. But 
besides being scientific, it can also be made 
a very irritating game. If spitefully inclined, a 
skilful player can bully or worry his opposing 
enemy to death while really remaining within 
bounds, and in no way exceeding the rules and 
regulations. As at other games, the old fable 
of the hare and the tortoise is often verified at 
croquet. The last is not seldom first. The 

17—2 



2C0 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

gay free lance, who wanders over the green, 
striking terror into the hearts of sober stayers at 
their hoops is frequently left behind at the close, 
while the slow coaches who have plodded from 
ring to ring with patient perseverance win the 
game easily, proving the truth of the adage, 
" Slow and sure wins the race/'' 

Most people get a little hot over croquet. 
Even the meekest of maidens, whom no one 
suspects of possessing any temper at all, grave 
church dignitaries, learned barristers and pro- 
fessors, and worthy ministers like Mr. Dods^ will 
dispute violently, and argue to the last gasp over 
some trifling point of play. For it is not in 
human nature to be taken from a delightful 
position in front of your hoop, made use of in 
helping your enemy through his rings, or in 
waging war against your own side, and finally 
be sent adrift, without experiencing a slight con- 
viction it would aff'ord you a pleasing sensation 
to do likewise to that ball which has put you to 
the rout, and scattered you and your companions 
to the four corners of the globe. 

'' Tired, mademoiselle V^ asks Ferrier. 

" No, monsieur.''-' 

'^ Then what are you sighing for ? Because 
you have the bad luck to be a girl ? Misfor- 
tune to which you will have to submit, as it 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 261 

cannot be altered. You would never have done 
for a man, unless you had got a new set of 
dispositions, feelings, and character." 

" Why not ?" says Thyrza, making a dashing 
long shot from one stick to the other, and 
hitting the minister's ball, which evokes from 
him an astonished, '' We — el ! Miss Rutherfurd.'" 

^^ Because — I will tell you afterwards. I know 
you are going to make a mull of this stroke. 
This is your last ring, is it not ? If you play 
decently, the game is in your hands, and we 
shall win in a canter.'^ 

" It is all up, Mrs. Napier, I am afraid,'"* re- 
marks Mark. " Miss Thyrza has it all her own 
way. They will go out this time." 

" Lola, will you oblige me by moving, I think 
there is a ball somewhere under your dress. 
Where is yours, Mr. Lefroy, I don't see it any- 
where ?" 

" Oh, Jane, I am admiring the view ; did you 
ever see anything so sweet as the sea, and the 
cliffs of St. Philip's to-day ?" 

Jane searches in vain for Mr. Lefroy's ball, 
and as it is in his coat-pocket in which he has 
hidden it until required, there is no wonder her 
labour is thrown away. Lola had not got much 
out of Mr. Lefroy in the way of " spooniuess." 
It takes a good deal of wine to get him up to 



262 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

the mark, and while saying anything and every- 
thing, there is no fear of his committing him- 
self. Short of an offer in plain words he is 
perfectly safe. Soft looks, tender sentences ; 
garnished with poetical quotations, connt as 
nothing, and if she succeeds in leading Mr. 
Lefroy to " sacrifice" at the altar of Hymen, 
Lola will be a clever young woman. Thyrza 
sends Mr. Dods away, places herself in a good 
position, and having one stroke more tries the 
hoop, but becoming nervous, or her hand trem- 
bling at the critical moment, she blunders the 
little easy stroke as people so often do after 
executing something really difficult, and, striking 
the wire, her ball rebounds to the wrong side, 
without going through the ring. 

" There ! I was sure you would spoil it. You 
were in too great a hurry, and did not look to 
see if you were hitting straight. You would not 
have made me a good clerk in Shanghai." 

" No ! But I should only have had to add up 
accounts, and write things in a big book." 

" That is clear and concise ! I should some- 
times have wanted you to do other things be- 
sides writing in a big book." 

" Going out shooting ?" 

" Not exactly. One time some of Mark^s 
men and mine got into a row, and were put into 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 263 

prison, and he and I took a journey up country 
to speak to the mandarin of the town, where 
they were confined. We got separated, and I 
wandered over so many miles over the hills at 
night among the brushwood, a sort of prickly 
bush which grows there in great abundance, it 
tore my clothes to shreds, and scratched my face 
and legs until they were one mass of wounds. 
In this lively predicament, not knowing where I 
was, and not having the most remote notion 
how far distant the town was to which we were 
going, I tumbled up against something soft. 
There was a splendid moon shining, and by its 
light I saw that it was the body of a man with 
his throat cut in a horrible manner, nearly sever- 
ing his head from his body. The Chinese, you 
know, never bring any dead body they find lying 
about, because if they did, the magistrates would 
consider them implicated in the death. Now, if 
you had been with me, you would have either 
fainted on the spot, or else had a fit from terror 
which would have rendered affairs more com- 
plicated for me.^^ 

^' Monsieur is very *' 

*' Come, Mr. Ferrier, I do wish you would 
attend,^^ interrupts Jane. " It is too bad ! 
Everyone goes off and talks in the intervals be- 
tween their turns, and they never remember where 



264 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

tliey are going, or when they ought to 
play." 

^^ Oh, Miss Jane, that is too severe ! I don^t 
believe you ever hit the stick,^^ says Mr. Lefroy, 
who has cheated shamefully, and only been 
through about half the hoops, so it is rather 
cool of him to complain of Jane MacNab. Jane, 
really vexed and angry, bestows an indignant 
look on her sister, upon whose ball she swoops 
down, and forthwith croquets to the inmost 
recess of a mazy hedge, whence it is rescued with 
infinite difficulty and trouble. 

" You should have two greens, Mr. Ferrier,^^ 
she remarks, resting on her mallet, and feeling 
considerably better after having wreaked her 
revenge on Lola, " one for people who do like 
to play, and another for those who merely mean 
to flirt and cheat. ^^ 

^^ I am sure. Miss Jane," says the minister, 
deprecatingly, ^^ I have been honourable, although 
once or twice sorely tempted, throughout." 

" It was not you I meant," looking across at 
Mr. Lefroy. 

He has deserted Lola and is paying attention 
to Mrs. Napier. In her half-mourning white 
dress and black sash, the former tucked up just 
enough to show her small feet in high-heeled 
shoes with diamond buckles, made after the 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 265 

fashion of the last century_, she is a very 
agreeable figure for contemplation. Lola^ even 
-with her Parisian dresses, cannot attain the quiet 
elegance of Mrs. Napier, which is distracting 
alike to man and womankind. 

'' Mademoiselle, you are very pale, sit 
down. The seat is more comfortable than it 
looks. It is here I smoke my after-breakfast 
pipe ; but I generally bring a rug with 
me.^^ 

" Miss Jane, did you read the account in the 
Scotsman yesterday of the golf match at S. 
Philip's ?' asks Mr. Dods. 

" Excuse me, I never talk at croquet," she 
returns, giving him the snub direct. '^ I like 
doing one thing well at a time, and prefer to 
watch the play.'^ 

" Monsieur was lost on the Chinese hills," 
says Thyrza. " Will you not finish ?" 

" Well, I went on, and when daylight came 
found myself not very far from the town 
Chip-Cho-Hoang-Ho, where the mandarin lived. 
Wasn't I glad, that's all, to see some human 
beings again? But I was such a spectacle what 
with mud and scratches, and not to mention the 
most part of my trousers being torn and de- 
stroyed, that some kind person spread a report 
1 was a magician, and the entire population set 



266 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

on me witli sticks and stones^ and I had to bolt 
for my life/' 

" Did you run V inquires Thyrza^ much 
interested. 

" Rather ! I showed them a clean pair of 
heels ; for of course I was far out-matched and 
the odds were tremendous. I tore along to the 
mandarin's house, contriving to keep ahead of 
my pursuers. They were much fresher than I 
was, having had the advantage of their night's 
rest, while I had been on foot for hours. But 
the training I had had as a lad at '' Hare and 
hounds" and " Paper chases" when at school 
served me now, and I dashed breathless into 
the hall of the mandarin's house. I was so 
winded I could not speak or perform the cus- 
tomary civilities, about which they are very par- 
ticular. Luckily, Mark was there, and the 
presence of the mob, with my ragged, bleeding 
figure — I had got one or two nasty cuts from 
some stones the natives shied at me — sufficiently 
explained how things stood." 

"I wish I had seen you." 

" I was hardly presentable for a lady's eyes, 
so it is fortunate you did not. The mandarin 
had the good sense to listen to reason ; he gave 
me a bath, and we procured some more decent 
clothing, and then we discussed the trade dis- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 267 

pute. Our men were liberated; but the popu- 
lace were so furious tbat the mandarin was 
obliged to grant us a guard of soldiers, between 
whom we marched out of Chip-Cho-Hoang-Ho, 
very glad to shake the dust of that city off our 
feet, and escorted into the country by the yells 
and execrations of the people/^ 

" What did they say ?" 

" Oh, little simple things such as ^ Kill the 
English devils V ' Slash them to bits/ and other 
cries of that kind. As they spoke Chinese, I 
understood all they said, and I could scarcely 
refrain from firing at them ; but I knew if I did 
nothing would prevent them from falling on us 
and tearing us to pieces ; and then our country- 
men would have to put up a memorial to our 
memory, rejoicing that our loss had left an 
opening in the trade. It was no joke to keep 
cool when mud and missiles of divers sorts were 
whistling round our heads, and the men jeering 
and mocking and cursing us.^^ 

" It must have been splendid fun, and so 
exciting V^ says Thyrza. 

" I canH say I quite saw where the fun lay at 
the time,^' returns Terrier, with a grim smile. 
" And you are welcome to that kind of excite- 
ment where I am concerned." 

" Can you speak Chinese ?" 



268 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

"Yes. It is next to impossible to get 
on with the natives unless you can acquire the 
language/'' 

" Is it awfully difficult V' asks Thyrza. 

" It^s not easy ; worse than Greek ; and you 
can''t depend on interpreters — often frightful 
scamps/^ 

" I wish now I had thought of going into 
business/^ says Mr. Dods j " the ministerial is 
not a money-making profession^ and I think 
before long we ministers will have to strike, 
like the masons and mill-workers.^^ 

" China is not what it once was, and it is 
quite a mistake to think one has only to go out 
there and money comes of itself. A whole 
batch of poor young fellows threw up their 
appointments as clerks in London and came out 
to Shanghai/' observes Mark. " They were 
nearly starved, and we had to get up a sub- 
scription for them to pay their passage home again. 
The fact is, that one requires interest and capital 
out at Shanghai as well as in England.^' 

" Is the climate good V 

" Not very ; lots of yellow fever, and seven or 
eight out of every ten who take it on their 
arrival die. You would require to go out about 
twenty, or thereabouts, in order to get used to 



BEOWN AS A BERRY. 269 

it. It is a good thing to get into tlie Chinese 
customs, if you can speak the language. 
Begin with a house at 50/. per month, which 
increases if you give satisfaction. In that case 
you can make plenty of money, and can 
trade on your own hook. If I was going to 
begin again I think I should try the Island of 
Formosa.^^ 

" Had I known what I do now, it would 
have been the very thing,^^ answers Mr. Dods. 
'^ What do you think of the burgh of Queens- 
muir ?" 

" In much about the same condition as 
Shanghai was when I first knew it, as regards 
the streets. It has improved immensely of late 
years. I suppose you never heard the joke 
about Terrier when he first arrived there. He 
had letters of introduction to the heads of a firm, 
and they, hearing of his landing, invited him to 
dine with them. So, after looking about the 
town a little he took up his abode in an hotel 
and donned his very best evening dress clothes. 
Of course he was anxious to cut a dash and 
make a good impression upon the gentlemen. 
So then he set off. It grows dark very sud- 
denly in China, and the streets of Shanghai 
were neither paved nor lighted, and were very 



270 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

like a sea of mud^ with lakes of water here 
and there. A considerable gale was blowing, 
and somehow or another Ferrier tripped up, lost 
his balance, and fell headlong, all his length 
in the slush.^^ 

" What did he say V asks Mr. Dods. 

" Something much too hot and strong to be 
repeated in your presence,^^ says Ferrier, answer- 
ing for himself. " I was in a holy frame of 
mind, more easily imagined than described, as 
novelists say when they come to an awkward 
bit. I have often noticed that, after remarking, 
' it is impossible to describe this scene,' they 
never fail to have a shy at it."*^ 

" And did you go to dinner ?" 

'•' Hardly. I went back to the hotel and sent 
an excuse to the people. ^^ 

" Do you know Jack once made a plum- 
pudding ? It was one Christmas, in Shanghai, 
Mrs. Napier. It was a great big one, for 
fifty people, and was boiled in a cauldron. 
Jack had two fellows with long poles to stir it 
round. ^^ 

^^ What, was it not boiled in a bag V ex- 
claims Jane MacNab. 

" Oh yes, it must have been, but still I re- 
collect its being stirred round, and one of the 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 271 

men complaining of being too hot, Jack emptied 
a bucket of cold water over bis bead." 

" It is very scrubby of you^ Mark^ to tell tales 
out of school," remonstrates Jack_, amid tbe 
general laughter. 

" John Chinaman would rather run a dozen 
miles than meet Jack when he was in one of his 
impulsive moods. He does not call it being in 
a temper, or a rage^ or a passion,, but merely 
being a little impulsive '^ 

" That is worth remembering," says Mr. Dods ; 
'^the next time I am reproached with scolding 
the congregation for bad attendance at the 
kirk, I shall say I am only following my im- 
pulses." 

" Now, Miss Thyrza," calls Mark, ^' I believe 
it is left to you to give the coup de grace and 
end our miseries." 

Thyrza steps forward, and the balls being 
placed near the winning-post, puts them out one 
after another. 

The victorious side wave their mallets over 
their heads in triumph. 

" Well, Miss Jane, you deserved to win, for 
I think I only went through about six hoops," 
owns Mr. Lefroy, frankly. 

^' You did not require to tell me," returns 



272 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Jane^ appeased by having won, " for I saw very 
well what was going on/^ 

" Will you have your revenge ?" asks Ferrier. 
" I daresay you will play the second game better 
and will be more used to the ground and the 
mallets.^' 




CHAPTER IX. 



T is a wet day, in fact, a very wet day. 
Wet days may be divided into two kinds, 
those whicli make a feeble attempt at intervals 
to clear up and often delude a pleasure party 
into the mistaken belief that if they wait a little 
longer it will soon be fine ; but this desirable 
event does not happen, the sun remains behind 
the cloud which perhaps has a " silver lining ^' 
somewhere and the rain keeps on a gentle drizzle, 
all the more irritating because it is just too 
heavy to go out in, and has besides saturated the 
grass and woods with wet. Then in opposition 
to the undecided rainy day is the decided wet 
day. This is more agreeable to deal with. One 
knows what to do and what to expect; one is 
not beguiled with delusive hopes of getting out ; 
and accepting fate quietly, one settles down to 
one^s work or letters with peacefulness. This is 
unmistakeably a decided wet day. There is no 
VOL. I. 18 



274 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

doubt about the way in which the rain pours 
down from the grey eaves^ and trickles along the 
waterspouts. The weather has made up its 
mind to be wet_, and wet it is. The wind howls 
mournfully round the house^ and mixes with the 
racket of the waves on the rocks below as treble 
and bass mingle together in a duet. 

Few visitors trouble Carmylie, even in fine 
weather; so on a day like this^ of drenching 
rain^ there is little chance of being disturbed by 
morning callers. Terrier is in his study smok- 
ing a pipe and pondering over his father's 
debtS; and a meeting he must shortly hold in 
Edinburgh with some of the Scotch creditors 
and his lawyers. His attitude is more easy 
than elegant,, his feet resting on the top bar of 
the grate, in which burn pieces of peat and fir- 
wood, and his hands are crossed over his shoul- 
ders behind his neck. Dinner is in course of 
preparation in the kitchen. Cecilia is head 
cook besides being housekeeper, and some of her 
efforts would startle Mr. Lefroy. Her know- 
ledge consists of how to make broth and boil 
beef, and she can also fry trout. That a little 
variation in the menu is desirable, never once 
occurs to her. On Jack's arrival from China, 
he had dismissed the cook and two housemaids, 
finding from a cursory glance at his father^s 



BKOWN AS A BERRY. 275 

papers that he could not afiford to keep more 
servants than Rattray and Cecilia. Conse- 
quently^ the household is rather primitive. The 
meals are served within half an hour or so 
of the time fixed, and it is Ceoilia^s opinion 
Mrs. Ferrier ought to be thankful to see dinner 
at all, instead of complaining that the roast hare 
is so peculiarly skewered it looks as if it were 
going to leap off the dish ; or grumbling about 
the tea having been boiled before the fire until 
it is bitter as senna. Mrs. Napier^s own maid, 
a supercilious woman — a bad imitation of her 
mistress in style and dress — is a thorn in the 
flesh to Cecilia. 

Mrs. Ferrier has not been accustomed to 
housekeeping. Until latterly, she has always 
had a housekeeper. But, feeling for Jack, she 
has read up cookery books, and now ventures 
rather timidly into the kitchen to heg Cecilia to 
take pains with the stew. 

Cecilia is not fond of being intruded upon in 
her own particular domain, " leddies should bide 
in their ain place, and she wad bide in hers.^^ 
And after replying not very brightly, Mrs. Fer- 
rier goes back to her sitting-room. 

Rattray is making a " potato bogle," Anglice, 
scarecrow, the day being too wet for him to do 
any outdoor work. He has got an old sack, an 

18—2 



276 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

ancient hat_, a ragged coat^ and a quantity of 
sawdust, with which to stuff the figure. 

Cecilia careers from pan to pan, lifting off 
lids and putting them on again, while Rattray 
whistles his favourite tune, ^^ Charlie over the 
Water/'' and stitches the sack together with a 
darning needle and some twine. He devises 
arms rather ingeniously by means of a piece of 
wood, and tying a string round the neck of the 
sack manufactures a round bullet-shaped knob 
intended for a head. 

" Gae wa^ oot o^ that, Maister Davie V ex- 
claims Cecilia, '' Fll no hae ye routing amang 
my pans. Fat^s that ye hae drappit into the 
watter butt at the door ? Gae wa^ wi^ ye.''^ 

'' Would it not be jolly to paint eyes, nose, 
and mouth, on the bogle ?" says Davie, paying 
no heed to Cecilia, and abstracting a hot potato 
from one of the aforesaid pans, so hot that he 
dances in a sort of pantomime over the brick 
floor while peeling it. 

'' Fine,'''' returns Kattray. " But how would 
you pent them T' 

" Youll see," answers Davie, making a grab 
at Cecilia*s cap in running out of the kitchen, 
and presently he comes back with a large cameFs- 
hair paint brush, and a small bottle containing a 
dark fluid. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 277 

'' That's no pent." 

" Oh,, isn't it ? Just look how splendidly it 
takes it on." 

" I dinna believe it's pent" persists Rattray, 
as Davie with a few touches of his brush pro- 
duces a pair of goggle eyes, a nose a good deal 
to the one side, and a mouth literally from ear 
to ear. 

" Will you let me paint your face, then ?" 
asks Davie. " You can easily wash it off, you 
know." 

'^ It's ower thin-like stuff for pent." 

Davie does not wait for further permission, 
but dipping the brush into the dark fluid in the 
little bottle proceeds to paint whiskers on each 
side of Rattray's weatherbeaten cheeks among 
the stubble he carefully shaves off every Sunday 
morning. 

" It has an awfu'-like stink" says Rattray, 
" will it be ink ?" 

" It's black paint, Rattray." 

" I'm for nane upon my nose. It's a trick 
ye're up to, Davie." 

'' Oh, Rattray, just a little on the tip of your 
nose." 

" I'm for nane o' your impidence ! Ye are 
no kenning fat tae mak' o' yersel the day." 

Davie throws the bottle away, and taking up 



278 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

the coat stuffs the arms of the scarecrow into it. 
He is in the act of tjing the hat on its head, 
when an exclamation from Rattray causes him to 
fly rapidly out at the kitchen door as if for his 
life, with Rattray at his heels. 

^' It^s awfu' thochtless o' Henry tae leave the 
door that gait/' says Cecilia, plaintively. " He'll 
hae the chimney on fire. Whiles there's nae 
comprehending thae men. Maybe he's gotten 
a flea in his ear." 

" David, where is the key of mademoiselle's 
room ?" calls Terrier. 

" He's awa' oot this blessed meenit, laird," 
returns Cecilia. 

" Oh, laird, that laddie is needing his wheeps. 
He's gien me something that's taen the skin ofi" 
my face." 

" Where is the key of mademoiselle's room ?" 
repeats Terrier, sternly. 

A voice replies " far up " the house from the 
top of a waterspout to which the culprit has 
scrambled with the agility of a squirrel, ^^ water- 
butt.'' 

" Then, Rattray, you must fetch a ladder from 
the steading. Mademoiselle is locked in her 
room, and Davie has dropped the key in the 
butt. I have tried the keys of the other rooms 
and they won't fit the lock." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 279 

" Is he no tae get his wheeps, laird ?" 

" Yes^ if you can catch him," answers Ferrier, 
laughing at Rattray^ s indignation and the 
grimaces into which Davie, clinging on to the 
spout, is twisting his fair face. 

While Rattray has gone for the ladder, Ter- 
rier throws sundry tiny pebbles up to Thyrza's 
window. 

'' It will be all right directly," he says. 

*' Tres bien, monsieur," rejoin treble accents 
from above. 

'' Hold the ladder steady, Rattray. Is this 
the longest you could find ?" 

" Aweel, it is." 

'^ What are those streaks you have on each 
cheek ?" he asks, ascending the ladder. 

" I dinna ken, but they burn terrible. Davie 
pented the potato bogle first, and syne he's tae 
pent my face. He wanted tae pit some o' that 
black stufi" on my nose, and it's a maircy I'd 
mair sense nor let him. I suspectit it was no 
vera richt when he mentioned the nose. I've 
wash'd them but they're nae better." 

" I believe it's caustic, Rattray. It was 
lucky you were not such a soft as to let him do 
the whole of your face." 

" Bide a wee till I catch ye, Maister David," 
shouts Rattray, holding the ladder with one hand 



280 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

and shaking his closed fist in the direction of 
Davie. 

]\Iaster Bavie^ although in rather a precarious 
situation.,, liberates one finger to place it in close 
proximity with a feature in his face which nature 
has not thought fit to render very prominent : 
indeed^ it is a decided snub. However^ snub 
noses have one decided advantage over those of 
a more classic type ; they can be twisted from 
one side of the visage to the other^ and are 
a great aid in the art of grimace making, 

Ferrier reaches Thyrza's window and looks in. 

" This is the only resource left, mademoiselle, 
unless you go up the chimney, as the door won^t 
break open. Will it alarm you ? I thought it 
would be easier if I came to guide you for the 
first few steps.^'' 

"No, monsieur.^'' 

" You had better not look down at the side of 
the house if you can help it."*^ 

" I always feel giddy on a high place.^' 

" And yet you ran along the parapet of Bogg 
Bridge so carelessly. There was no sense in 
doing that. Now you want pluck you have none.^^ 

Thyrza climbs on to the sill by the assistance 
of a chair ; Ferrier gives her his hand and holds 
her by the waist until her feet are firmly planted 
on the steps of the ladder. 



BROWN AS A BEURY. 281 

'^ Now_, do begin to move. It may be a 
romantic position tbis particularly dry day^ but 
I don't relisb it mucb/^ He is afraid for her up 
at sucb a great beigbt^ and has an uneasy recol- 
lection of noticing, as he ascended, that the 
ladder is rotten, or not very secure about the 
middle. But he dare not say anything for fear 
of rendering her more nervous. 

" The losh keeps/' exclaimed Rattray from 
below. ^'^Are you and the laird tae bide a' day 
at the tap yonder T' 

" I must let go, mademoiselle,^' pursues 
Terrier. 

" Oh, don't, monsieur." 

" We shall never get down if I don't. Keep 
hold with both hands, and come cautiously, 
mademoiselle, thee's nowt but a gawpin, as they 
used to say at Marshley. What a fine view 
there is from here ! There are splendid breakers 
on at the sand-bar. I could get a capital shot 
at that seagull if I had a gun." 

Ferrier removes his hand from Thyrza's waist 
and goes down several steps, leaving her to come 
as she can. 

" Courage, mademoiselle ; if you fall you fall 
on me, and we shall both go together." Left to 
herself, Thyrza puts one foot and then the other 
down^ and so arrives towards the bottom of the 



282 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

ladder, when it breaks in two and slie only saves 
herself by springing to the ground. 

^' It is fortunate that did not happen before, 
or you and I should have damaged our necks 
a little I fear/^ says Jack, in his most frigid 
voice. " How came Davie to play such a trick 
as to lock you in ? You are too young to have 
the care of such romping children." 

" I don^t know," answers Thyrza, recovered 
from her fright. " I went to make myself tidy, 
and when I wanted to get out the door was 
locked, and I screamed, and monsieur came and 
tried to break into the room, and he could not, 
and the keys did not fit, and voila tout." 

" Tidy !" rejoins Terrier, with a queer look 
at Thyrza^s hair, which comme ordinaire is in 
admired disorder, and the pin of her bow in the 
front of her gown has vanished, leaving it 
dangling ready to fall. ^' Next to a sensible 
woman I like to see a tidy one. Neatness is 
the sign of a well-balanced mind." 

^' I was under the impression I was very neat 
indeed," she returns, as they halt in the porch 
for a moment. 

^' Then T don^t know what you can call untidy!" 

" Kh, if you had seen me sometimes at the 
pension you would perceive one great improve- 
ment now." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 283 

^^Well, I did not, and I am afraid I have 
lost something very valuable by not being there. 
May I venture to inquire how many hundred 
years you propose staying in this porch in a 
thorough draught V^ 

Meanwhile Rattray has picked up the broken 
ladder, and propping the longest end against the 
side of the house has scrambled up as far as he 
can go with safety. Davie crawls along the 
waterspout and stops short near Rattray. He 
is well aware nothing will be done to him. He 
has only to lie on his back and roar lustily to 
make both Mrs. Terrier and Charity nearly go 
into hysterics. If old Mr. Terrier had been 
alive Davie would not have ventured on such 
pranks, but even he had softened down a good 
deal before his death, and the mischief which 
would have been visited with condign punish- 
ment in his own sons merely drew a smile upon 
the grandchildren. As vexing or distressing Mrs. 
Terrier in any way is the last thing Jack would 
do, Davie gets off scot free, although he considers 
he would be much benefited by an occasional 
thrashing. Davie approaches nearer Rattray. 

The old man shakes his fist at him, and Da\ne 
adroitly slips on to a window-sill and seizes the 
ladder. 

" Ye thrawn wratch V cries Rattray, angrily. 



284 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" bide till I^m on the groond again and Fll gie 
ye it/' 

" Will you really T' says Davie^ shaking the 
ladder violently. 

'' Oh-, maircyj maircy \" exclaims Kattray. 

" Will you promise not to say anything about 
it?'' 

'' Na^ I'll promise naething." 

" Then I'll shake the ladder until you fall/' 
pursues Davie, knowing he has the best of it_, and 
thoroughly enjoying Rattray's terror. 

" Oh, oh ! I'll say naething mair, I winna, 
Maister Davie, I winna." 

" Will you swear you won't ?" demanded the 
young rascal, giving the ladder a tremendous 
jerk. 

" I'll sweer onythi7ig, onything ye like," pants 
Rattray, breathless with fear, willing to swear to 
whatever Davie wishes, and resolved to perjure 
himself the instant he touches terra firma 
again. 

" Then I'll let you down," slackening his grasp 
of the ladder, on which it need hardly be said 
Rattray scuttles off it sideways, like a crab in a 
hurry, and ducks behind the water-butt. Davie, 
occupied with an acrobatic performance of 
sliding from the spout on to the ladder and 
descending at the gallop, is received almost into 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 285 

the very arms of Rattray^ who has skulked out 
from his hiding-place. Davie^ however, is slip- 
pery as an eel, and three times as supple as 
Rattray ; he twists himself from his embrace by 
a somersault, regains his footing, and is in the 
house and upstairs with Mrs. Ferrier before 
Rattray has been able to rise from the wet 
dank grass. 

^^ Are you busy, mademoiselle V asks Ferrier, 
entering the schoolroom some few minutes later. 

^^ Not very, monsieur.^^ 

" Could you spare me a few minutes V 

" Yes,''^ says Thyrza, rather wonderingly, " I 
could, but I am not sure that I shall/'' 

<' Why not ? What have I done to incur 
your displeasure ?" 

" You told me I was very untidy .'' 

'^ So you were.^^ 

'' But I am neat now, am I not ?" 

"Well/^ doubtfully, looking at the simple 
print gown and blue bow at the throat, which 
she has put on since coming out of her room by 
the ladder, having found it in the schoolroom, 
" it's better. But did you ever pin your collar 
straight in your life V 

'' Is it not straight ?" 

" No ; a quarter of an inch too much to the 
left. I have got a letter from my French agent 



286 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

which I can^t quite make out. The idioms are 
so bothering and the fellow writes such an odd 
hand_, otherwise I should not trouble you/' 

" It will be no trouble. I suppose monsieur 
desires that I should translate it into English 
for him ?" 

" Exactly so/' 

'^ Shall I begin now ? Where is the letter ?'' 

^^ It is in my study. I think you will find it 
easier to write a translation of it there^ especially 
as there are a number of trade terms in it which 
without me you would be unable to understand. 
Will you come then ?'' 

Terrier's study is the morning-room which 
belonged to the late Mr. Terrier. It is fitted up 
with light oak and dark blue hangings powdered 
with gold fleur-de-lisj with carpet and furniture 
to match, of blue and oak. Pictures on the 
walls of racehorses in almost every possible 
attitude, reveal the taste uppermost in the mind 
of the previous owner. On a writing-desk is an 
inkstand composed of four horse-hoofs set in 
silver, formerly appertaining to a favourite mare 
of Mr. Ferrier's. Round the room are hung a 
collection of antique pistols and guns and 
fowling-pieces, and some magnificent trophies 
of big game, sent home from India by Captain 
Napier ; heads of tigers and elks and antelopes. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 287 

and the striped skin that once covered the 
treacherous;, cruel form of a huge man-eater 
now serves the peaceful purpose of a comfortable 
hearthrug. On a table strewn with papers, blue 
envelopes, and ledgers, are several morocco-cases 
of jewels belonging to Mrs. Ferrier. They are 
to be sold by her own wish, and contain trinkets 
of great value. 

'' There is a seat, mademoiselle," says Ferrier, 
dragging out a large arm-chair for her. Thyrza 
sits down and translates the small, elaborate 
writing of the Frenchman into English. 

" Koonfongs ?" she asks, inquiringly. '' And 
No. 1 and No. 2 tsatlee koonfongs, Hs ?" 

" Oh, merely trade terms. Stick to the point 
in question. What is it the man wants to say 
about seeing me in the autumn. Does he want 
me to go, or does he not ?" 

" I have not finished yet, but I shall in 
another moment. Shall I write it out for you, 
or read it aloud ?" 

'^ Write it out, please, and then I shall not 
forget it.'' 

She copies out the translation and hands it to 
Ferrier. After he has read it through, he ap- 
parently waits for her to abandon her seat and 
leave the room. 

" Can I help monsieur T' she says, when 



288 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Ferrier has been so good as to remark lie con- 
siders the translation '^ not bad/"* 

^' You have already done so. I think there is 
nothing more in the way of further assistance 
that you can do. You cannot add up the 
accounts ; I suspect your arithmetic is of an 
Irish nature — Twice five is six ; the nines in 
four you canH, so dot three and carry one^ and 
let the rest walk V 

" Oh no/^ returns Thyrza_, earnestly, " indeed 
it is not. And I do want to let you see that I 
am not silly and foolish .^^ 

" If you imagine I think you are so, you 
must know my thoughts better than I know them 
myself.^^ 

" But you said I was silly. ^'' 

" You are not more foolish than most girls, 
and a great deal wiser than some/^ he rejoins, a 
little impatiently, " but you must not mind what 
/ say. I don^t know much about girls. During 
the past few years, as I have already told you, I 
have seen precious few specimens, and I must 
own what I have seen did not make me wish 
to see any more,^"* laying down his pen, and 
strangling a violent yawn that is trying hard to 
get into existence. 

'^ I do mind what you say. I can^t bear for 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 289 

you to think me a simpering nothing. I want 
you to believe I am not stupid/' 

" I don't say you are a simpering young 
woman. Far from it.'' 

This comes of being out of the ordinary run. 
No good ever results from that. Well, she is 
no relation of his, so it does not signify. 

" But I can't believe you are wise when you 
are not,^^ he goes on very distinctly, *^^no young 
persons are. When you are older and have 
seen the world you will have acquired knowledge, 
and have learnt how to use the common sense 
with which nature has provided you " 

" I wish I was old," she bursts forth, impe- 
tuously. 

" Time will soon cure that fault. What is 
the matter ?" 

" Oh, nothing," she says, abruptly, turning 
away. 

" Well, then ; I will swear you are wiser than 
Solomon." 

" No, don^ty I had much rather you said what 
you thought. I should hate for you to say un- 
truths only to please me, as if I were a baby J' 

" Hate ! is not that rather strong language 
considering the occasion ? There is no pleasing 
you. If I say what I think, you are — impul- 

VOL. I. 19 



290 BROWN AS A BEKRY. 

sive ; if I flatter you^ it is worse. What shall 
I do T' 

" I don^t want to be flattered or compli- 
mented; if monsieur would let me assist him/^ 
she rejoins, persuasively, ^' I used to copy out 
Mr. Spindler's musical compositions for him, 
and I never made any mistakes. Besides, there 
is no fear of '' pausing. 

" Of what ? Go on, mademoiselle.^' 

" There is no fear of you falling in love with 
me,'"* says she quietly, without an atom of co- 
quettishness in her manner. 

" Speak for yourself,^' returns Terrier, gravely, 
" how do you know that T' 

^' Because you told me so.'"' 

" Do you believe everything you are told ? 
You ought to believe nothing of what you hear, 
and only a quarter of what you see. What^s 
the use of my thinking well of you ? It won't 
do you any good, or make you a bit the happier, 
or put any money into your pocket." 

" Monsieur is so clever ; his opinion is worth 
having.'' 

" I am afraid I am only a poor devil at the 
best, a man of no account," and Terrier gives 
a little sigh ; " it is really very amiable of you 
to wish to help me, but I scarcely think you 
understand what you want to undertake. Shall 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 291 

I instal you in office as my clerk ? * Yes/ you 
answer^ but I shall perhaps be cross and scold ; 
then the tide will come in and you will cry." 

" Oh no/"* she replied, with a bright smile, 
" I never cry. I am sure I should not.^' 

'^'Well, I will tell you what I am about. 
You may have heard that I am rich, but in 
fact I am poor as a church mouse. These books 
here are the lawyers^ accounts which I am look- 
ing over. Now, you don't know the difference 
between single and double entry." 

" Well, it is a fact I do not, but I can 
learn,'' says she with another smile, which makes 
Terrier inwardly determine he will not invite 
this new kind of clerk to return to his study, 
otherwise the play will end in a word of four 
letters — Love. 

"You would learn Chinese as quickly,'^ he 
answered, gruffly ; " however, I will give you a 
trial. First of all, seven times eight V' 

" Fifty-six." 

"Are you certain?" 

" Sans doute, monsieur."' 

" Nine times nine V 

" Eighty-one." 

" Once one ?" 

" Two." 

Ferrier shakes his head. 

19—2 



292 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

'' Ahj wliat stupid I am ! One of course." 

^^ So far, so good. Please give me your un- 
divided attention. There are the leases of the 
grass parks — Scotch term that for meadows — 
at Carmylie for the last eight years,, add up 
the sum total, and as you wish to be useful, 
will you sew a button on this wristband for 
me? Needle and thread are just at hand in 
Charity ^s workbox.'''' 

Whether nervous or not cannot precisely be 
said, but Thyrza bungles in threading her needle, 
and only after an attempt of about a minute, 
does she discover that the reason of her non- 
success lies in the eye being filled up. Even 
then, she does not thread it with her usual 
quickness. However, this being finished, she 
turns to Terrier. 

'^ As you are so kind, mademoiselle, this is 
wnere the deficiency lies." 

She bends down to stitch on the button, un- 
conscious of the quickening of Terrier's pulse, 
like electric wildfire, as her brown soft fingers 
accidentally touch his strong muscular wrist, and 
a tress of her flowing locks rests for an instant 
on his dark bronzed cheek. She is so close to 
him that he can almost hear her heart beating 
rapidly under its thin print covering. Intent 



'brown as a berry. 293 

on her work^ slie does not notice the glance he 
fixes npon her. 

" It is not now properly sewn on. See what 
a little thing is sufficient to break it off/' he 
exclaims, treacherously wrenching it off, in 
order to have the pleasure of Thyrza sewing it 
on again. " Your education has evidently been 
neglected. Before trying to be a clerk, you 
should get up thoroughly the arts belonging to 
your own sex. Seventeen years of age, and not 
able to stitch on a button." 

'^ It is monsieur's fault, and monsieur has no 
manners,'' remonstrates Thyrza, threading her 
needle once again, and beginning her task once 
more in all innocence, " if monsieur would re- 
main tranquil I could do it very well." 

"Ah, you've pricked your finger ; poor little 
brown finger." 

'^ Don't pity me," says she, viciously. 

" You should not undertake more than you 
can do." 

She gives a little stamp and snaps the thread. 

" Sew it on yourself," she exclaims, and throw- 
ing the needle into the fire, she moves towards 
the door preparing to make her exit, when Jack 
prevents her by standing with his back set against 
the panels. 

"We should never have got on as master 



294 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

and clerk. Nature knew a long way tlie best 
when she made you a woman, but that sensi- 
tive disposition of yours so touchy '^ 

" I am not touchy/^ 

" I beg your pardon, you are touchy. That 
disposition would have got you into dreadful 
scrapes as a man. Why, you would have been 
knocking down every second fellow you met, 
because he happened to say something which 
offended you. Look here, mademoiselle, I want 
you to make friends with Charity. You will 
learn from her those nice feminine ways which 
are so taking.^"* 

" I can^t endure nice feminine ways,^' protests 
Thyrza, thoroughly provoked. ^' Why should 
not a man and woman be able to be friends 
without falling in love T' 

" Not a very relevant question,^^ returns 
Terrier, in an exasperatingly cool tone of voice, 
still keeping his back firmly pressed against the 
door. " Because any experiment of the kind I 
ever heard of has been a failure. ^^ 

'' Monsieur, I wish to return to my school- 
room ; please open the door." 

" Pardon me, you have not fulfilled your part 
of the bargain," says he ; "^ I believe you pro- 
mised to help me about the grass leases."*' 

" WeU V 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 295 

'^ I will explain it to you if you will attend. 
There are so many fields — you will find the 
number on referring to the papers — each con- 
taining so many acres of land let at so much per 
pole^ and varying in price as the land varies in 
value. It is as easy as A B C.^' 

But Thyrza is too much offended to be at once 
consoled and appeased. Ferrier quits the door. 
He comes to her. Her left hand — the forefinger 
of which was wounded in his service — hangs 
limply dowuj and on the said small forefinger 
there is a little red stain. 

" I never thought monsieur could have laughed 
at me/' she answers^ in return to his expressions 
of penitence, rubbing off the stain with her 
handkerchief. 

" I am too old and stiff to go down on my 
knees, mademoiselle, or I would do so and 
apologize," he entreats. 

Thyrza yields at his contrition and believes 
that had he not been in truth too stiff, he would 
have sued forgiveness from his bended knees, and 
she takes up her position at the table. 

Arithmetic, unfortunately, is her weak point. 
She cannot add up or divide the smallest sum 
mentally, and even if provided with pencil and 
paper before her she still requires some length of 
time for reflection. The famous ^' herring and 



296 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

a half*' has only been solved by her during the 
past year,, and though clever enough in other 
departments, she could never have gained a prize 
in the mathematical line. I am afraid she would 
have been plucked in an examination at Oxford 
or Cambridge. Her imaginative powers are 
much greater than her arithmetical abilities. One 
reason for this may be that arithmetic, beyond 
the four simple rules, has never been clearly ex- 
plained to her. Now, she is excited, and without 
pausing to think goes to work at once, sets down 
the number of acres carefully and the price 
which they fetched during one grazing season. 
Ferrier has told her to ascertain the amount 
which the lot will come to for each year sepa- 
rately. This is because in some seasons the 
fields realized more than at others. And then 
having found the sum for each year to add the 
produce of the eight years together. This, of 
course, would give the sum total. But Thyrza, 
in her haste to do it well and fast, forgets the 
simple directions, and is presently involved in 
calculations between cyphers and an odd process 
of counting which would have made the hair 
of any good arithmetician stand on end. Then 
she cannot remember for her very existence how 
many poles there are in an acre^ and she is too 
proud to ask. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 297 

Terrier,, meauwhile;, transcribes quickly into a 
large book, and then answers a letter from -his 
lawyer in Edinburgh. He writes a small, clear, 
business-like hand. There is a good deal of 
character in the decisive, steady letters, formed 
without a tremor or falter. He reads over the 
epistle before closing it for the purpose of dis- 
covering whether any words have been left oat ; 
then he seals the envelope with his crest. It is 
also like the man that the seal is well done and 
perfectly impressed — not an indistinct line in the 
largely-engraved crest. When this is finished 
he looks at Thyrza. She is struggling with the 
sum, which being worked in the wrong way 
shows an aggregate of several thousand pounds. 
She bites her lips and wrinkles her blue-veined 
forehead into deep frowns. She grows hot and 
pushes her troublesome hair away from her 
shoulders. As she is doing the sum with pen 
and ink, she cannot rub out the working. One 
or two sheets of paper she covers with figures 
and blots, which are as fast destroyed. Terrier 
rises and leans over the back of her chair to 
examine the progress of the sum. She bows 
down her head and stretches her hands over the 
last sheet. 

" Let me look,-*-* he says. 

^' I shan't," she rejoins, raising her head and 



298 BROVfN AS A BERRY. 

doubling up the paper. Ferrier lays liis hand 
on- it. She tears it into little bits ; but she is 
not so quick about it that Terrier has not 
contiived to catch a glimpse of the total 
result. 

" Three thousand five hundred pounds for the 
rent of about a dozen and a half of fields from 
Whitsuntide to Martinmas. By Jove, I wish I 
had you for a tenant. Matters would soon 
square themselves at that rate. How many 
poles are there in an acre V 

" I — don't — know/' very slowly, and passing 
an inky finger over her cheek, she leaves thereon 
a smudge. 

'' I think there are something like forty and a 
quarter. Are you vexed, mademoiselle V 

"No-o-o," doubtfully and prolonged. 

" You forgot what I told you. By-the-bye, 
you've inked your face." 

'' Have I ?" 

^' You want a looking-glass, I see. There is 
not one in this room. You are only making it 
worse. Stay, 1 daresay you can manage with 
this," pulling out his watch and opening it where 
it is wound up. " When I've been badly ofi" 
I've often put my tie straight by its means." 

Thyrza takes the watch and removes the 
smudge, Ferrier contemplating her the while. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 299 

" The most beautiful looking-glass I ever saw 
is here just now/^ he says^ presently. 

" Where^ monsieur ?" she inquires^ regarding 
him steadfastly. 

'' In your eyes/' he answered. " I seem a 
different man when I look at myself in 
them.'' 

" In my eyes, monsieur?" 

" Yes, in your eyes. If you look into mine 
you will see yourself reflected,, very small, it is 
true, but quite perfect. Tell me what you see 
now ?" 

"Well, it is a fact," she exclaims, joyfully; "I 
do really see myself, monsieur." 

" I see in your eyes the reflection of a man, 
who might have been much better, and a respec- 
table fellow, but who instead went all wrong, 
and is now getting content to drift where fate 
drives him." 

" Then you don't see yourself, monsieur. How 
is it that I saw myself so well ?" 

" There is a great difference between your eyes 
and mine." 

" Is there ? But how ? And who is it you 
saw?" 

" I can't explain the difference between our 
eyes, so well as I can this sum about the grass 
leases. Eighteen hundred and sixty-four seems to 



300 BEOWN AS A BERRY. 

have been a capital year for the parks. How many 
are there ? Fifteen ; I suppose some land must 
have been reclaimed from the heather, as after- 
wards they increase to eighteen and nineteen/'' 

He sits down beside Thyrza, taking a fresh 
sheet of paper_, and setting the sum in clear neat 
figures, does it for her, explaining the reason of 
each mode of working. After this, he destroys 
it and makes Thyrza go through the whole her- 
self, figure by figure, and refuses to assist her 
when her memory failing her for a moment, she 
forgets what she ought to do next. Then after 
she has finished the whole triumphantly, and 
copied it tidily into one of the large ledgers she 
rises, crying delightedly — 

" Now, monsieur, allow that I am of some use.^'' 

" I donH know how it strikes you, but it strikes 
me that calculating the time, the waste of paper 
and ink, &c., I might almost as well have done it 
myself,'''' returns Terrier, drily. 

Thyrza walks right out of the room, banging 
the door after her, as an outlet to her feelings. It 
is amazing how refreshing a little explosion 
of the kind is when one is slightly agitated. 

" Mademoiselle, mademoiselle,'''' shouts Fer- 
rier, ^^ as we live under the same roof- tree, let us 
be at peace. Will not you excuse my — impul- 
siveness, and stitch on that shirt-button V 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 301 

'' That I never will/' returns Thyrza, hotly. 
" And I'll never come back to your study, never, 
and you may translate your letters as you can/' 

"A regular little pepper-pot/' reflects Fer- 
rier, returning to his peculiar sanctum, and 
lighting a cigar, ^' she's quite right about keep- 
ing out of this study. If she came often I 
should be making a fool of myself. It's better 
we should be at daggers drawn. Jove ! I was 
very near giving her a kiss, and I believe I 
should if I had not cut up deuced nasty that 
minute. She'll think me a brute. Hang those 
infernal debts, I shall never get rid of them all 
my life. I wish Charity had engaged a woman 
of an awkward age." 

'' Please, sir ; the meenister has called tae 
speir for ye," says Cecilia, sticking her head into 
the study. 

" Tell the minister I am not at home/' an- 
swers Ferrier, promptly ; going to the open 
window, from which he beholds Mr. Dods in his 
Sunday-go-to-meeting broadcloth, waiting under 
an umbrella on the gravel sweep. 

The almost instantaneous result of this reply 
is the following, delivered in Cecilia's squeakiest 
tones — 

" The laird is i' the hoose, but he's no at 
home." 



302 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" In the house, but not at home ?'' repeated 
the minister. " De-ar me \" 

" I dinna ken nae mair/^ pursues Cecilia, 
" that's a' the laird tellt me tae tell ye, and I 
hae tellt ye exack/' 

The minister retires down the brae to the fish- 
ing village. 



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